Missouri Valley Division Alert: Important Information for Immediate Dissemination

All Missouri Valley Division Members,

Recently, correspondence has been received by the Executive Directors and/or Presidents of many state associations within all divisions of the IAFC. At first, the message appears consistent with our collective efforts to preserve the public safety 4.9 GHz spectrum for a nationwide approach to 5G communications.

This group calling itself, “The Coalition for Emergency Response and Critical Infrastructure (CERCI)” is actually a group made up of wireless carriers opposed to FirstNet’s mission and are operating under the cloak of public safety interests. This group, fueled by commercial interests including Verizon, T-Mobile, UScellular and Edison Electric has claimed that the FirstNet Network is seeking to take away local control from public safety in the 4.9 GHz spectrum. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is clear that these commercial interests are seeking to take over public safety’s 4.9 GHz spectrum for their own commercial purposes. The following is our statement and we must make it clear that “This is public safety’s spectrum; not commercial spectrum, and we must protect it.” We urge you to not support or participate with this group or their initiatives. We will be happy to brief you on the associated details but at this point, we needed to quickly alert you to the matter and urge your support.

As members of the Missouri Valley Division and the state associations that make up the MVD, we felt the need to alert you to this matter ASAP.

What we support: Please view the Public Safety Spectrum Alliance’s recent letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) describing the need to protect public safety’s 4.9 GHz spectrum from those that are attempting to take it from America’s first responders. We are urging all IAFC members to oppose the CERCI effort, and continue to support the growth and coverage of our public safety broadband network.

The sustainability of a dedicated and non-fractured public safety broadband network relies on our vigilant efforts in continuing to demand it, and in turn support it.

Let’s set the record straight: The FirstNet Authority, a Congressionally created government entity, is governed by a board of current and retired local public safety executives whose sole mission is to protect and enhance public safety communications for first responders in America.

The FirstNet Authority was established specifically to oversee and improve public safety communications. It has the expertise and focus to ensure that the 4.9 GHz spectrum is used efficiently and effectively for public safety purposes.

  1. The FirstNet Authority is a proven governance mechanism that would ensure accountability and oversight in the management and use of the 4.9 GHz public safety spectrum. The FirstNet Authority has created specific protocols to allow local public safety officials the ability to determine appropriate priority for critical infrastructure users.
  2. The FirstNet Authority can ensure standardization and integrated interoperability efforts between the 4.9 GHz spectrum and the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, enhancing the ability of first responders to communicate seamlessly across different spectrum bands through current and future technologies.
  3. A centralized authority like the FirstNet Authority can provide a consistent and coordinated approach to spectrum management and policy decisions, reducing potential conflicts and improving overall spectrum efficiency.
  4. A dedicated 4.9 GHz spectrum ensures interoperability among different public safety agencies fostering seamless mission critical data communication and coordination. Innovative use cases such as drones,
  5. IoT devices, and connected vehicles that can benefit from the 4.9 GHz spectrum to enhance public safety operations are vital to our critical needs. The transition to broadband technologies usage in the 4.9 GHz band will enable data-rich applications, video streaming, and real-time situational awareness for first responders.
  6. Dedicating the entire 4.9 GHz spectrum solely to public safety agencies will ensure they have the spectrum resources needed for their mission critical operations in addition to robust cybersecurity measures to protect the 4.9 GHz spectrum and ensure the integrity of public safety communications.
  7. The reliability and security of the 4.9 GHz band for public safety communications minimizes the risk of interference and unauthorized access.

Don’t fall prey to misinformation, the CERCI so-called coalition strategy is clearly motivated by commercial selfinterest and is using deceptive means to utilize 4.9 GHz public safety spectrum for its own ambitions. All one needs to do is look at the first paragraph of their coalition letter to the FCC where numerous cosigned coalition members are identified as commercial carrier representatives.

We are urging all MVD-IAFC members to oppose the CERCI effort, and continue to support the growth and coverage of our public safety broadband network. The sustainability of a dedicated and non-fractured public safety broadband network relies on all of us continuing to demand it, and in turn support it.

Don’t be misinformed by this end run by commercial interests to take away something that belongs to public safety. We must advocate for the continuity of public safety operations by protecting the 4.9 GHz spectrum from potential commercial or non-public safety use.

The Missouri Valley Division and the PSBTA are in full support of the statements of the IAFC Communication’s Committee Chair (please see link below):

https://www.iafc.org/blogs/blog/iafc/2023/12/20/straight-talk-about-firstnet-first-responder-designed-and-first-responder-led

Jim Silvernail, President
Missouri Valley Division-IAFC
Fire Chief, City of Kirkwood F.D.
Kirkwood, Missouri

John Paul Jones, Fire Chief-retired
Past President, Missouri Valley Division
Executive Director, PSBTA
Public Safety Broadband Technology Assn.

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