News Release

APPA Advocates for Public Safety & First Responders' Communications & Seeks Your Involvement
For Immediate Release: 07/06/2010

The American Probation and Parole Association supports the reallocation of the D Block to public safety, and the establishment of regulatory process and structure to construct a national interoperable mobile wireless broadband network that will improve our nation’s homeland security and provide first responders with new voice, video, and data communications technologies that are urgently needed. APPA encourages members to contact their federal Representative to tell him or her that you support legislation to allocate the D Block to public safety and first responders. You can locate and email your Representative from this link:https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml.

Our country’s local, state, tribal, and federal probation, parole, law enforcement, fire, medical, and other emergency professionals must have access to the most modern and reliable wireless broadband technologies to communicate with each other, as well as with federal officials across agencies and geography during emergencies. The ability for public safety agencies to have seamless nationwide roaming capability on a wireless broadband network that is hardened to public safety requirements is achievable and essential for public safety agencies to meet their ever increasing responsibilities.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to address this issue again by the disposition of the D Block via auction. The first attempt by the FCC to auction the spectrum failed miserably. Public safety officials, service providers, and infrastructure vendors agree that a more effective method would be to allocate the D Block directly to public safety organizations in order to create a national broadband network that would meet the critical needs of first responders.

If allocated, this additional 10 MHz of spectrum (i.e., the D block) will be combined with the current 10 MHz of spectrum already allocated to public safety organizations to create a 20 MHz block necessary to build a nationwide public safety broadband network. When built, the new broadband network will be able to support a broad range of public safety, government, critical infrastructure, and consumer applications such as voice, video, and data services. The wireless broadband network also will enable state, local, and tribal governments to provide more cost effective services to their communities and save local and state governments millions of dollars in administering such programs as reading water meters and deploying smart grid technologies. The envisioned public/private partnership also will provide much needed public safety service, as well as commercial broadband service, to rural America.

One of the top recommendations of the “9-11 Commission Report” was for Congress to “support pending legislation which provides for the expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety purposes.” We believe Congress must quickly pass legislation to allocate the D block spectrum to public safety, as proposed in bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Peter King (R-NY) and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) as HR5081 – Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010, and provide an annually recurring and dedicated funding source to build and maintain the nationwide public safety wireless broadband network. Our nation cannot afford to miss this one-time-only opportunity, and we call on Congress to support our first responders who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve their communities.