Public Safety Groups Protest FCC 4.9 GHz Vote


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Inside Towers reported the telecom industry was pleased with the FCC’s vote last week to allow states to lease portions of the 4.9 GHz public safety band to third parties. The 3-2 vote was controversial.

A group of national public safety associations asked the agency to delay the vote, saying the order would endanger the public. Afterwards, they said with public safety professionals facing unprecedented national emergencies and natural disasters, the timing of the majority’s action is “especially unfortunate and misguided.”  

The Commission majority said the band is underused, and the agency needs to carve out more mid-band spectrum for future wireless use. 

National public safety associations said the current rules are cumbersome and hamstring police, fire, EMS and 911 from making the best use of the band. “For years, public safety repeatedly offered specific proposals to the FCC to improve these rules so professionals could benefit from the multitude of broadband applications this band would make possible,” the groups said. “Instead of granting these requested rule changes, the majority continued a false narrative that public safety is to blame for any underutilization and ignored public safety’s needs in an attempt to benefit commercial users.”

The groups opposing the vote are:

  • APCO International 
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police 
  • International Association of Fire Chiefs 
  • Major Cities Chiefs Association 
  • Major County Sheriffs of America 
  • Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association 
  • National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians 
  • National Association of State EMS Officials 
  • National Public Safety Telecommunications Council 
  • National Sheriffs’ Association 
  • Western Fire Chiefs Association

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