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Emergency Planning and and Public Safety Division:


Spectrum Policy Initiative

President Bush established the Spectrum Policy Initiative in May 2003 to promote the development and implementation of a United States spectrum policy for the 21st century that will foster economic growth; promote our national and homeland security; maintain U.S. global leadership in communications technology; and satisfy other vital U.S. needs in areas such as public safety, scientific research, federal transportation infrastructure, and law enforcement. As directed by the President, the Department of Commerce formed a multi-agency advisory Task Force of Assistant Secretaries from agencies selected by the President under the leadership of the Deputy Secretary of Commerce and sought the views of the private sector via an outreach effort, involving open, public meetings. The Secretary of Commerce provided two reports in June 2004, under the title Spectrum Policy for the 21st Century - The Presidents Spectrum Policy Initiative (Report 1 & 2), which contained the 24 recommendations. The President directed the federal agencies, in a November 30, 2004 Executive Memorandum to plan the implementation of the 24 recommendations contained in the Reports.

Point of Contact: Richard Orsulak, (202) 482-9139

Federal Wireless Users' Forum Steering Committee

The Emergency Planning & Public Safety Division (EPPSD) Co-Chairs and is a Steering Committee member of the Federal Wireless Users' Forum (FWUF).  FWUF represents Federal Government wireless telecommunications users.  Membership is open to all Federal Government employees who are current or potential wireless telecommunications users.  The FWUF holds two workshops a year to educate and inform members of current and emerging telecommunications technologies and policies.  The steering committee focuses on organizing the workshops.  You can visit FWUF's homepage at www.fwuf.gov.  In 2005, the FWUF became an outreach division of the Federal Partnership for Interoperable Communications (FPIC) an effort under the Wireless Management Office of the Department of Homeland Security.

Point of Contact: Thomas Hardy, (202) 482-1948

All Hazard Warning Projects

The EPPSD is a member and participates in both the All Hazard Warning Systems Inter-Agency Working Group (AHWS-IAWG) and the Partnership for Public Warning (PPW).  The AHWS-IAWG is an informal working group to expand the Weather Radio coverage to 100% of the continental United States.  The group also explores ways to disseminate hazard warnings over telecommunications devices.   EPPSD is a board member of PPW.    PPW brings together representatives of all the many and diverse stakeholders to work toward a resolution of national standards, protocols and priorities that will assure the right information is delivered in a timely manner to people at risk from disaster so that they are enabled to act knowledgeably to save lives, reduce losses and speed recovery.

Point of Contact: Thomas Hardy, (202) 482-1948

Wireless Priority Access

EPPSD is involved in Wireless Priority Access (WPA) administered by the National Communications System.   WPA provides a means for National Security and Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) telecommunications users to obtain priority access to available wireless radio channels when necessary to initiate emergency calls.  NS/EP telecommunications services are critical to the maintenance of a state of readiness or the response to and management of any event or crisis that causes or could cause harm to the population, damage property, or threaten the security of the United States.

Point of Contact: Thomas Hardy, (202) 482-1948

800 MHz Realignment - "The Nextel Proposal"

On November 21, 2001, Nextel Communications Inc. submitted to the FCC a "White Paper" in which it proposed a solution to interference caused by at least one commercial mobile radio service operator to public safety, business, industrial/land transportation and specialized mobile radio systems users of the 800 MHZ band below 860 MHZ.  The Nextel proposal would affect the 700 MHZ, 800 MHZ, and 900 MHZ frequencies by organizing public safety , private, and commercial mobile radio service frequencies into adjacent blocks, reducing the fragmentation of spectrum, particularly in the 800 MHZ band.   Public safety would be assigned channels 1-400 (806.125 - 815.9875 MHZ paired with 851.0125-860.9875 MHZ), and commercial digital wireless services would be assigned channels 401-720 (816.0125-822.5875 paired with 861.0125-867.5875 MHZ).   The FCC is expected to issue a proceeding regarding the proposal submitted by Nextel.  NTIA/EPPSD will review the FCC proceeding when released and submit comments if appropriate.

Points of Contact: Marshall Ross, (202) 482-1222, and Gary Patrick (SEAD), (202) 482-9132

Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA), Public Safety Advisory Group

The EPPSD is serving as a government representative on the ITSA Public Safety Advisory Group.  This group reports directly to the Secretary of Transportation with recommendations on how Intelligent Transportation Systems such as Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), Telematics, Collision Avoidance Systems, and Automatic Vehicle Location Systems, can be used by public safety organizations.  This is a forward-thinking group of public safety and transportation experts that are studying all of the potential benefits that this new and rapidly expanding technology can bring to public safety.

Point of Contact: Charles Hoffman, (202) 482-3456

Project Mobility for Emergency and Safety Applications (Project MESA)

Project MESA is a partnership between the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), established in May 2000. The goal is to develop advanced mobile broadband technical specifications that can be used to support the communications requirements of the Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) community. Project MESA supports the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in its worldwide effort to harmonize PPDR communications as documented in ITU-R Report M.2033.  Project MESA membership comprises over 100 representatives from national public safety organizations, communications equipment users research organizations, and the telecommunications industry; and EPPSD represents NTIA.  Members meet every six months (alternating between European and North American venues) to coordinate program activities and to review project documents for approval. Between these meetings, members rely primarily on email to coordinate specification development and other activities.

Points of Contact: Charles Hoffman, (202) 482-3456


Federal to State and Local Interoperability Networks

The NTIA Emergency Planning & Public Safety Division (EPPSD) remains involved in tracking the status of existing State and local public safety communications networks and those being planned or under development.  With the renewed focus on a nationwide public safety communications interoperability network, the EPPSD is monitoring public safety efforts to bridge the communications gap between all public safety agencies.  With over five different diverse bands of radio spectrum used by public safety agencies, there exists a need to bridge all users together.  The utilization of dispatch console-to-console patching, use of fixed, mobile and portable audio switching solutions and the exchange of radios has moved over to emerging Voice Over Internet Protocol network based solutions.  Software Defined Radios are entering the market that offer multiple algorithms in a single package and the Cognitive Radio is under development and will someday replace outdated interoperability methods and will expand available modes to all public safety users. In addition, the EPPSD has identified federal radio spectrum that is available to public safety agencies for short duration interoperability on a limited basis to non-federal agencies that have Federal sponsors.

Point of Contact: Charles Hoffman, (202) 482-3456

Federal to Federal Interoperability

EPPSD continues to follow ongoing Federal initiatives involving Federal to Federal, interoperability and network consolidation. EPPSD works closely with the Department of Homeland Security, Project SAFECOM and the Federal Partnership for Interoperable Communications (FPIC) a continuation of previous initiatives of the Federal Law Enforcement Wireless Users Group (FLEWUG). SAFECOM recently assumed the leading role of continued efforts of the former Public Safety Wireless Network (PSWN) and the NTIA Public Safety Division continues to provide support for all initiatives.

Point of Contact: Richard Orsulak, (202) 482-9139


SAFECOM Maritime Integrated Program Team (IPT)

NTIA works closely with SAFECOM as a technical advisor on federal spectrum matters.  SAFECOM is a federal initiative operating on behalf of all local, state, and federal public safety agencies. The Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury are jointly leading the PSWN Program's efforts to plan and foster interoperability among public safety wireless networks.

A major part of the PSWN program focuses on completing a number of diverse case studies designed to better understand how public safety agencies plan, fund, procure, install, operate, and maintain their private wireless communications systems.

Point of Contact: Marshall Ross, (202) 482-1222

Project 25/TIA 102 Standards Initiative

EPPSD has been involved in the APCO Project 25 initiative since it’s inception in 1990 and continues to follow the ongoing efforts to finalize the process of establishing a non-proprietary standard.  EPPSD works closely with all Federal users in the identification of user needs.  These efforts, a partnership with users and industry will eventually open the market to competition and the establishment of a set of standards that all manufacturers can build to.

Points of Contact: Richard Orsulak, (202) 482-9139, and Charles Hoffman, (202) 482-3456


Wireless Location-Based Services

EPPSD is involved in policy matters concerning location-based services, as it relates to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Enhanced 911 (E911) regulations.  The FCC codified E911 rules concerning Automatic Number and Location Identification so that the caller of a wireless 911 call can be located. EPPSD has worked with the FCC and industry on the issue of E911 deployment and continues to monitor various ancillary issues stemming from the E911 regulations.

Point of Contact: Thomas Hardy, (202) 482-1948

National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC)

The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) is a federation of associations representing public safety telecommunications. The purpose of NPSTC is to follow up on the recommendations of the Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee (PSWAC). In addition, NPSTC acts as a resource and advocate for public safety telecommunications issues. The EpPSD is a member of the NPSTC Executive Council, providing Federal regulatory guidance while insuring the Federal Government's public safety related needs are represented. The EPPSD is also a member of the Technolgy, Interoperability, and Spectrum sub-committees.

Point of Contact:  Charles Hoffman, (202) 482-3456

Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International

APCO International is an association of communications professionals that provides leadership; influences public safety communications decisions of government and industry; promotes professional development; and, fosters the development and use of technology for the benefit of the public. The EPPSD is an active member of APCO and represents the Federal Government's interests in areas of frequency management and coordination, and interoperability standards and methodologies.

Point of Contact:  Charles Hoffman, (202) 482-3456


Spectrum Policy Initiative

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