Emerging Issue: Call to Action for IAFC Member States
Published:December 18, 2023
Edited:December 18, 2023
Defend dedicated public safety communications against deceptive claims by CERCI and learn what you can do to help from the Western Fire Chiefs Association.
Mark Niemeyer, WFCA President | Fire Chief, Boise Fire Department
Recent correspondence has been received by State Fire Chiefs Associations from a group calling itself, “The Coalition for Emergency Response and Critical Infrastructure (CERCI).” This group, funded by commercial interests including Verizon, T-Mobile, and other utility companies, has claimed that the FirstNet Authority is seeking to take away local control from public safety in the 4.9 GHz spectrum. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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 has created specific protocols to allow local public safety officials the ability to determine appropriate priorities for critical infrastructure users.
It is clear that these commercial interests are seeking to take over public safety’s 4.9 GHz spectrum for their own commercial purposes. In fact, the recent communication sent out by CERCI to state associations reinforced this, “Non-public-safety users can only be permitted in the 4.9 GHZ band if they do not displace or interfere with public safety communications.” This is public safety’s spectrum; not the commercial spectrum, and we must protect it.
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 who 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 all of us continuing to demand it, and in turn support it.