This is the latest in a series of white papers designed to spark conversation about the issues related to broadband for the public safety community. Check back on our blog for new posts each week, and feel free to add your comments below. Download a printable version of Broadband Conversations #27.
FirstNet appears to assume that, in the design of radio access networks (“RANs”) for the PSBN, providing adequate coverage may properly include material reliance upon coverage provided by satellites. The fact that FirstNet has made this assumption is validated by references to the use of satellite coverage for rural and or wilderness areas in presentations made by representatives of FirstNet and other FirstNet documentation.
Those references to satellite coverage are not accompanied by any express reservations regarding the practical limitations upon satellite coverage generally and specific reservations that relate to the use of satellites in the context of the PSBN. Neither do those references to satellite coverage include any recognition of related potential legal issues.
The planned utilization of satellite service to supply PSBN coverage raises questions regarding whether reliance upon satellite coverage will:
- Work for the applications intended to be used by public safety agencies in connection with the PSBN;
- Undermine the nationwide interoperability envisioned by the Act;
- Be affordable; and
- As a matter of law, conflict with certain provisions of the Act relating to network architecture requirements, interoperability, and roaming agreements.
RCC has prepared a white paper which addresses those questions. Download a copy of the paper here.