NPSTC Urges Separate 700 MHz Broadband, Narrowband Operations
Tuesday, October 04, 2016 | Comments

The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) released a position paper against mixing 700 MHz public-safety broadband and narrowband operations in the same spectrum. The council said “doing so can negatively impact both public-safety communications reliability and interoperability.”

Some jurisdictions have expressed potential interest in converting the 700 MHz narrowband spectrum to broadband use, NPSTC said. This would result in a mix of narrowband and broadband operations across different jurisdictions in the same block of 700 MHz band spectrum.

The FCC adopted rules for the 700 MHz spectrum that provide the opportunity for both reliable broadband and narrowband operations with nationwide interoperability in each set of operations. Narrowband public-safety operations are conducted in a designated 6-plus-6-megahertz block of paired spectrum, while broadband operations are being planned in a designated 10-plus-10-megahertz paired block of spectrum licensed to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).

A 1-plus-1 megahertz guard band, also licensed to FirstNet, separates narrowband and broadband spectrum. Although Section 6102 of Public Law 112-96 provides that the FCC may allow flexible use of the narrowband spectrum, it does not require the FCC to do so. Furthermore, for interoperability, the FCC designated Project 25 (P25) as the technology required for narrowband interoperability channels and Long Term Evolution (LTE) as the technology for broadband operations, NPSTC said.

The full position paper is here.

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On 10/5/16, Dave Maples said:
I agree with NPSTC although perhaps not for the reasons they would like.

Coverage-based systems, e.g. current narrowband offerings, have no business being collocated in the same geography and in the same or adjacent spectrum allocations with capacity-based systems, e.g. current-generation cellular technologies of all types. The underlying mathematics behind the two types of system designs makes this abundantly clear.

The fact that we keep doing this over and over again indicates that either a) the lawmakers and others in government really DO believe that legislative oversight, executive orders and judicial review really DO trump the laws of physics or b) they can't afford to care that that is not the case or c) they can afford to care but choose not to.

I personally suspect that b is the correct answer. We probably should dig deep enough to understand why.


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