I recently received an email from the ARRL informing me of H. R. 607 - A bill to Enhance Public Safety. The ARRL email was a bit vague on why we, as amateurs, should object. Basically, we will loose access to 420-470 megahertz band. Not mentioned by the ARRL email is the issue of privatization of the spectrum. What this will mean for many public agencies is that they will have to pay private corporations to use the frequency band. So how will they pay, by raising taxes of course. Moreover, though the purpose of the proposed legislation is to promote interoperability, private corporations tend to promote proprietary technologies that are NOT interoperable. Basically, it seems that HR607 will become another case of corporate welfare.
I see that there was a prior thread here: http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,72481.msg486676.html#msg486676
A copy of the bill is located here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr607ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr607ih.pdf
First, how are you making more spectrum available for public safety by removing the 420–470 megahertz band which is already in use by amateur radio. As such it is is already available for public safety, should amateur help be required.
Particularly disingenuous is the use of the word "recovered
" in one of the titles "RECOVERED PUBLIC SAFETY SPECTRUM". Exactly how do you recover something that was never lost. The intent, I assume, is make the band appear vacant for publicity purposes so that it can be claimed to be an expansion of the frequencies dedicated to public use.
The real intent if this proposed legislation appears on page 25 of the proposed bill, the spectrum is to be auctioned off.
"(1) AUCTION.—Not later than 10 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the paired electromagnetic spectrum bands of 420–440 megahertz and 450–470 megahertz recovered as a result of the report and order required under subsection (c) shall be auctioned off by the Federal Communications Commission through a system of competitive bidding meeting the requirements of section 309 of the Communications Act of 1934."
Follow me through here. The spectrum will be auctioned off, I would assume, to private corporations for the purpose of public safety. The public safety agencies (that will actually use the frequencies) will then be forced to lease (spend money) to utilize the formerly free public frequencies. To obtain the money required to use these "public safety
" frequencies the public agencies will have to raise taxes. (The use of tax dollars is hidden by the word "grant
". Ultimately grants are supported by tax dollars.) Sounds like a sweet deal for the telcos!
If Congress really wishes to increase the frequencies devoted to public safety, they do not have to auction it off. The public agencies should be able to obtain "free
" licenses for public service applications. This will keep costs down and meet the true intent of public safety.
In conclusion, establishing public safety frequencies, if free, will still substantially benefit private industry. Private industry will benefit through the sale of equipment and consulting services. That would be the correct way to "help
" private industry. Privatizing the spectrum is an abomination.
In the interest of balance, below is a link to the Public Safety Alliance videos. This group is in support of HR607. I just watched the first video, I think it is "junk
", but at least you can see what those in support of HR607 have to say.
Public Safety Alliance website: http://www.psafirst.org/videos
To me the basic fallacy of the video supporting HR607 is that without this bill, you cannot have interoperability. Bunch of garbage. Interoperability is a MANAGEMENT problem. You do not need commercial "interests
" or the sale of public spectrum to solve this problem.
Another problem with the first video, there is no mention of those who would loose access to the spectrum. Based on the presentations in the first video it would seem that the spectrum is unoccupied. At a minimum they could acknowledge that other PUBLIC services would be disrupted. The self-serving commentary of the video makes me wonder if they really have the interests of the "first responders" at heart or if these people are simply acting as corporate shills.
If the videos makes sense to you let me know! I hope that I am not going "overboard