Friday, March 02, 2012

When does 20 = 42? (nerd alert)

When it's the amount of spectrum that's changing hands in the 700MHz D-Block/T-Band swap.

Congress passed, and Obama signed a bill allocating the 10MHz D-block to Public Safety in exchange for giving back the 470-512 TV Band that is allocated to LMR users in 13 metro areas. Okay, I'll admit that the whole T-band isn't in use across all 13 MSAs, but in many, like LA, it's close. In the Los Angeles MSA, they have 3 channels, or 18 MHz, 6 of which is specifically for Public Safety. The same thing for New York City. Miami, Houston and DFW have a single channel, and the others have 2 channels. The allocations are split up between PS and the Industrial/Business pool unless they're NOT specifically allocated to PS.

So here's my WTF moment: How are they going to cram all of the public safety users that are currently using their own radio systems onto a system that is using half the spectrum, and a system that isn't even on the drawing board, in only 10 years?

Here's some other random thoughts about why the band swap is a HORRIBLE idea:
  • Where are all of the non-PS incumbents going to go when the systems that they are currently on become illegal to use because their licenses have been "vacated".
  • What about all of the money that's already been spent on the development of radio systems in the T-Band, such as the LARICS project that the Channel 16 PS allocation was specifically set aside for?
  • What about all of the radios that are currently out on the street, in service, that would not normally see a replacement cycle until well past the 10 years?
  • What about the costs associated with essentially duplicating the current infrastructure, plus adding another 100% to 500% of equipment, depending on terrain and coverage, because the LASO deputy or the FDNY firefighter can't talk back to dispatch or the IC.

I'll post more in the future about this critical issue.

Some thoughts from around the web:

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