Full Committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday, September 8, at 2:30 p.m. in room 253 of the Russell Senate Office Building. Members will hear testimony examining the current state of public safety interoperability, and methods to implement the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that Congress provide spectrum expeditiously to public safety organizations for wireless emergency communications. Senator McCain will preside.
Honorable Michael K. Powell
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Committee. It is my pleasure to come before you to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing our country today: protecting our homeland and getting more spectrum into the hands of our nation’s public safety community so that first responders can more effectively do what they do best—save lives and protect the homeland. Although the tragic events of 9/11 focused America’s attention on public safety communications, the Commission's involvement in this area is long-standing and expansive. Years ago the Commission recognized that the ability of public safety systems to communicate seamlessly at incident sites with minimal on-site coordination was critical to saving lives and property. The Commission also recognized its responsibility to work with the industries we regulate to ensure their reliability and security. When I became Chairman of the FCC, I intensified our efforts in both of these areas. Then came the horrific events of September 11. Within days I, together with Governor Pataki, visited Verizon’s central offices at 140 West Street to survey the damage and discuss restoration. That visit intensified my already solid resolve to use the considerable resources of the FCC to further Homeland Security. I designated Homeland Security as one of the Commission’s six core strategic goals, with particular attention to two broad fronts: private sector readiness for the industries we regulate and public safety communications. Both of these areas were also identified by the 9/11 Commission as requiring specific focus. Private Sector Readiness Shortly after the attacks, I created the FCC’s Homeland Security Policy Council (HSPC) and later the Office of Homeland Security and charged these organizations with coordinating the Commission’s internal and external homeland security agendas. One of the HSPC’s first missions was to provide leadership in working with the industries we regulate to evaluate and strengthen the communications infrastructure and ensure rapid restoration in the event of disruption. As a result, we created the Media Security and Reliability Council (MSRC), bringing together the broadcast and multichannel video programming distribution entities for the purpose of focusing on Homeland Security issues. We also re-chartered the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council (NRIC) – which already had a solid 10 year history of promoting network security and reliability – to focus on homeland security issues for the wireline, wireless, and satellite industries. Both of these Federal Advisory Committees have had great success in developing and promoting the implementation of hundreds of industry Best Practices. We are now working to drive the implementation of these Best Practices by the industry. As we have said, if a business has a plan but does not practice it, it really does not have a plan. However, implementation also requires practical experience and the Commission is actively partnering with the private sector to test out and fine tune our Best Practices in the real world. For example, the Florida Association of Broadcasters, in cooperation with MSRC, recently tested Best Practices in a full day exercise in Tampa, Florida, and similar exercises are being planned. Likewise, just last week we observed a Cingular Wireless full day exercise in which over 100 employees tested the company’s business continuity and disaster recovery plans. I also note that we have had the ready participation of other government partners in these efforts, including the Department of Homeland Security and several of its components. Secretary Ridge and other senior DHS staff have joined us at several joint initiatives, underscoring to industry participants the importance of private sector readiness. NTIA, NOAA, OSTP, and NARUC, to name just a few, have also been our partners in implementing various initiatives, both in terms of policy development and outreach. 2 Public Safety Communications In addition to our industry efforts, we have also aggressively sought more spectrum for public safety, promoted interoperability, and tried to ensure that public safety operators can operate free from harmful interference. Recently, the Commission’s 800 MHz decision resulted in an additional 4.5 MHz of 800 MHz-band spectrum becoming available for public safety and critical infrastructure licensees. 1 Also as part of that proceeding, the Commission reclaimed another 4 MHz of spectrum at 700 MHz that also may be put to use in advancing public safety communications. The Commission also recently designated 50 MHz of spectrum at 4.9 GHz (4949-4990 MHz) for public safety use. This spectrum at 4.9 GHz is part of a transfer of Federal Government spectrum to private sector use and will accommodate a variety of new broadband applications while also fostering interoperability. Finally, consistent with the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the Commission identified and allocated an additional 24 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band for public safety use. The Commission also chartered a Public Safety Advisory Committee to develop a band plan designed to maximize the value of the spectrum to first responders. To better facilitate use of the 700 MHz public safety spectrum, the Commission adopted mandatory interoperability, restricting use of 2.6 MHz of the band to public safety entities that have equipment permitting inter-system use. This step tracks similar actions regarding other bands, including 5 channels in the 800 MHz band, 5 channels in the 150 MHz band (VHF band), and 4 channels in the 450 MHz band (VHF band). 1 Although I am confident that our unanimous decision to adopt the 800 MHz Order will withstand legal scrutiny, America's first responders should not remain at risk from the substantial delay that an appeal would entail. As we noted in the Order, interference to public safety radios can be a life and death proposition. The delay inherent in the appeals process and the associated risk to public safety could be avoided if our Order were to be codified. 3 We have put in place a broad range of other mechanisms that also promote interoperability. We will require that, as of January 1, 2005, newly certified public safety mobile radio units must be capable of transmitting and receiving on the nationwide public safety interoperability band in which it is operating. We have provided for innovative licensing methods that, for example, promote state-level management of interoperable channels or promote spectrum sharing by state and local entities with Federal entities or with non-public safety entities. In addition, we have granted waivers of our rules as necessary to make spectrum available to multiple public safety agencies in a given area, and to permit sharing arrangements between public safety agencies and critical infrastructure entities. We have also promoted new technologies that promote interoperability, such as cognitive radio. This technology, which has the capability to sense environment and change power and frequency, makes it possible for radios from different systems to operate seamlessly without prior coordination. I note again our extremely beneficial federal partnerships in working on these spectrum issues, including NTIA and DHS’ Project SAFECOM, and our fellow participants in the President’s Spectrum Policy Initiative. A more complete description of our spectrum related work and of other Homeland Security initiatives is set forth in Appendix A of my written statement. Our work at 700 MHz brings us to the principal focus of today’s hearing – how to quickly recover critical spectrum for public safety that is currently encumbered by the television broadcasters. 4 Completing the DTV Transition Nearly four years ago, upon becoming Chairman, I recognized the need to spur the pace of the digital television transition to achieve Congress’ twin goals of bringing the benefits of digital television to the American people and the reclamation and reallocation of broadcast spectrum for public safety use and new wireless services. Today, thanks in large part to the efforts of the FCC, Congress and every segment of the television industry, we have shifted that national dialogue from wondering whether the DTV transition will ever end to actively exploring when and how it will end. In 2001, I established a DTV Task Force to coordinate and prioritize the Commission’s efforts. In early 2002, we issued the “Powell Plan,” which challenged all industries involved in the transition to take specific, concrete steps to move the transition forward. I am proud to say that virtually every industry stepped up and met the challenge. In mid-2002, the Commission mandated over-the-air digital tuners in new televisions, so that the public could receive over-the-air digital broadcast signals on all newly purchased sets. In 2003, the Commission adopted cable plug-and-play rules, giving some consumers the option of receiving digital cable services without the need of a set-top-box. Also in 2003, we adopted the “broadcast flag” to give content providers greater assurance that their high-value broadcast content would be protected from indiscriminate redistribution on the Internet. New life has been pumped into the DTV transition. As of this summer, 1,445 DTV stations were on the air, compared to fewer than 200 just three years ago. High-definition content is booming. Cable has gone from virtually no HDTV programming to offering HDTV service to 84 million homes nationwide. And the first half of 2004 saw record sales of DTV products, with CEA reporting 2.8 million units sold in the first six months of this year and over 5 11 million units sold over the last several years – the vast majority of these sales taking place in the last two years. The importance of completing the DTV transition is apparent when considering the immense benefits: A major increase in the amount of spectrum available to public safety officials throughout the country. This spectrum will assist first responders during national and local emergencies and will increase the ability of public safety across jurisdictions to interoperate. The importance of this spectrum reclamation is greatest in major metropolitan areas, where the need is most because of spectrum shortages and the threats against our citizens the greatest. • High definition and other high value digital television programming for consumers. • New and innovative wireless broadband services in the 700 MHz spectrum band such as Wifi, Wimax, and 3G wireless show enormous promise for the American consumer. • Overall economic growth through productivity gains, increased investment and the creation of new businesses and jobs, especially in the small business sector. • Increased revenues to the Federal Treasury with the auction of the reclaimed spectrum. It is in recognition of these substantial public benefits that I directed the FCC’s Media Bureau to develop a bold framework to bring the DTV transition to an end. As you know, we have developed a plan that would return this spectrum nationwide by early 2009. A full description of our plan can be found in Media Bureau Chief Ken Ferree’s testimony before this Committee on June 9, 2004, but as I summarize here, the plan contains the following essential points: • Switch broadcasters’ carriage rights on cable and satellite from their analog signals to their digital signals on a fixed date, currently January 1, 2009. • Cable operators would be required to make the digital must-carry signals available to all subscribers by either: 6 (1) down-converting a single digital broadcast stream from digital to analog at the cable head-end so that all subscribers, including analog-only subscribers, can continue to view the programming; or (2) passing through the digital must-carry signals to subscribers’ homes, where the system has converted to “all digital” transmission and all subscribers have the ability to receive and display the digital signals (either on a digital set or down-converted by a set-top box for display on an analog set). 2 As a result, the statutory 85 percent threshold for ending the transition could be met nationwide on January 1, 2009 because: (1) All cable households (almost 70% of TV households nationwide) will count towards the 85 percent threshold in each market. (2) All satellite households in local-into-local markets that receive the local broadcast package will count towards the 85 percent threshold in those markets. (3) All households that purchased a new television set covered by the FCC’s DTV tuner mandate will count towards the 85 percent threshold. (4) All households that purchased a new “plug and play” DTV set, the first of which were introduced this year, will count towards the 85 percent threshold (by FCC rule, all “plug and play” sets must contain an over-the-air DTV tuner). A nationwide, hard date for the end of the DTV transition would benefit everyone. Right now, we have no clear idea when the transition will be over in any particular market and not even a clear idea how we are supposed to count TV households towards the 85 percent threshold. Many broadcasters suggest counting every television set in American households which would extend the transition for decades. With a date certain, public safety officials and advanced wireless providers waiting for broadcasters to vacate the 700 MHz band would know when they will be able to begin operations. In particular, the value of interoperability across public safety jurisdictions would only be obtained if all of the jurisdictions complete the transition at the same time. Otherwise while one town could use 700 MHz spectrum for public safety 2 Satellite operators in local-into-local markets would follow similar requirements, although, since satellite is an all-digital service, down-conversion would be to standard-definition digital, not analog. 7 communications, the adjacent community could still be waiting months or even years for the digital penetration level to reach 85% and the spectrum to be cleared of broadcasters. In the unfortunate event of a disaster in the interim, the two communities’ first responders could not speak to one another. With a date certain, all neighboring communities could activate their interoperable 700 MHz systems at the same time and ensure a coordinated response. In addition to the benefits to public safety, a date certain also provides consumers with a clear understanding of when analog broadcast signals will be terminated. Consumers can then factor that into their buying decisions today. Broadcasters would know precisely how long they will be required to run side-by-side analog and digital facilities and can make budget and maintenance decisions accordingly. Consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers would know when they will no longer need to produce, market, and support analog equipment and can more aggressively produce digital products, including converter boxes. And manufacturers of public safety and commercial wireless equipment would know that they will be able to achieve national economies of scale to justify equipment development and production. Of course, questions will be asked about what is the “right” hard deadline for the transition. In choosing 2009 as a target date for our plan, we focused on three potential benefits. First, because the Commission’s tuner mandate becomes fully effective on July 1, 2007, having a deadline of 2009 will add millions more digital sets to the marketplace before analog signals are turned off. The tuner mandate and other market forces will also further drive down the costs of digital-to-analog converters during that time for those households still relying on analog broadcast television. Further, a 2009 deadline would provide time to prepare the public on the impending end of the transition so they could take steps to prepare themselves in the natural course of replacing old sets. Finally, under the current 85 percent statutory test, the added DTV 8 sets with tuners and the expansion of DBS local-into-local markets will help ensure that most of the country meets the 85% threshold, providing for a nationwide end to the transition rather than a piecemeal result. The ultimate benefit of the 2009 deadline, in conjunction with steps we already have taken, will be to reduce to a minimum the number of consumers reliant on analog broadcast television. Whenever the transition ends, however, we recognize that there will be consumers that still tune into analog over-the-air television. Between now and the end of the DTV transition, I want to work with Congress and industry, collectively, to ensure that those television households that currently rely on over-the-air broadcasting will be able to receive the digital over-the-air signals. While these consumers are sometimes referred to as “the 15%,” we believe that with the FCC’s digital tuner and “plug and play” mandates, together with a robust consumer education campaign about the impending end of analog broadcast transmissions by a date certain, will mean that the number of television viewers who still rely exclusively on analog over-the-air service could be well under 15 percent by 2009. Whether the date is 2009 or 2029 – we have to find an answer for the remaining over-the-air viewers. Thus, Congress can and should consider ways to subsidize the purchase of digital-to-analog converters for at least those low-income households relying exclusively on over-the-air broadcast television service. For example, Congress could directly subsidize converter boxes from auction proceeds or provide tax credits or vouchers. To help Congress address this issue, the Commission recently issued an inquiry to determine who the viewers are that rely on over-the-air broadcasting for their television and on potential solutions for ensuring continuity of service as we reclaim the analog broadcast spectrum. We will advise Congress on what we learn from this inquiry and I look forward to 9 working with you to devise a solution to ensure that all Americans enjoy the benefits of the transition. The HERO Act The desire to expedite public safety’s use of the 700 MHz spectrum also led Representatives Harman and Weldon to introduce the HERO Act. I commend the bi-partisan group of co-sponsors of the HERO Act for their recognition of the value that the spectrum in the 700 MHz band brings to the public safety community. As the Commission’s actions on homeland security demonstrate, we understand the compelling urgency of protecting our citizens and our homeland. We believe our proposal to complete the DTV transition is consistent with the HERO Act and could serve as an alternative approach or as a necessary companion to ensuring the efficient, effective assignment of spectrum to the public safety community. The HERO Act would effectively require broadcasters in the public safety channels (i.e. TV channels 63, 64, 68 and 69) to vacate and return their analog spectrum by December 31, 2006. Currently, forty stations operate on these four channels (36 in analog and 4 in digital). In addition, some consideration would be needed as to whether adjacent channels to the public safety bands also should be cleared to avoid interference to public safety operations. In those adjacent channels (i.e. TV channels 62, 65 and 67), there are thirty-five broadcast stations operating (29 in analog and 6 in digital). Should Congress pass the HERO Act or something like it, one could envision at least three scenarios for those stations that must vacate: (1) The stations could be required simply to turn off their signals; (2) The Commission could try to find new channels for these stations; or (3) Either of the above two options could be triggered only if public safety officials provide notice to the stations that they will be ready to use those channels on January 1, 2007 (therefore 10 if there is no public safety need, perhaps in rural communities where spectrum shortages are not as acute, broadcasters can continue to utilize the band until the end of the DTV transition). Whatever choice is made will have consequences. If, for example, stations are forced to shut down service, the public – especially those who rely exclusively on over-the-air broadcasting – will lose some level of broadcasting service. Also, if stations are relocated to new channels during the transition, there will be instances of significant interference to themselves and their new neighbors. Finally, stations that are compelled to shut down or move will incur financial costs. If Congress determines that the pressing needs of public safety require an earlier transition deadline for certain channels, the Commission stands ready to implement such a plan. We would strongly recommend, however, also endorsing a hard deadline for the overall transition to help insure the success of the HERO Act plan. If Congress adopts the HERO Act, we would urge Congress to instruct the Commission whether those stations should simply be turned off or relocated. Moreover, the challenges of implementing the HERO Act would are ameliorated if Congress were to make clear that they will be short-lived – by coupling the early reclamation of the public safety spectrum with a hard date for the end of the overall DTV transition. As noted above, the end of the DTV transition will bring tremendous benefits not only to public safety, but to consumers and the broader national economy. In considering such a hard date for the end of the DTV transition, I urge Congress to consider steps to ensure that we limit the disruption of broadcast services to the public, especially for those who rely exclusively on over-the-air broadcast television. 11 Conclusion The last three years have brought unique challenges to the United States and our citizens as the government has taken extensive action both here and abroad to protect our citizens. For its part, the Federal Communications Commission has worked diligently with the private sector and sought to allocate additional “saving lives” spectrum to public safety during this time. More work, however, needs to be done and whether it is actions such as the recent 800 MHz Order or our proposal to reclaim vital public safety spectrum in conjunction with the DTV transition, this Commission remains committed to our duty to protect the American people. Thank you for the opportunity to come before you today and speak about this issue of highest national importance. 12 Appendix A Federal Communications Commission’s Efforts Regarding Homeland Security The Federal Communications Commission was created, in part, “for the purpose of the national defense, [and] for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communications.” 47 U.S.C § 151. Thus matters that today fall under the rubric of “Homeland Security” have in fact always been part of the FCC’s focus. Without question, however, we redoubled our efforts after 9/11, particularly on two fronts. First, we focused anew on providing leadership in ensuring private sector preparedness for national and local emergencies, both natural and man-made. Second, we sought to aggressively meet the needs of the public safety community by allocating additional spectrum for public safety use, by promoting interoperability between public safety jurisdictions, by alleviating interference caused to public safety systems, and by promoting the development of new technologies that support Homeland Security. Just recently, the chilling and sober Report of the 9/11 Commission validated that these were appropriate – and critical – areas of focus for the FCC. The 9/11 Commission Report The 9/11 Commission correctly puts a spotlight on the necessity of private-sector preparedness for an emergency such as the large scale terrorist attack we sustained on 9/11. Private sector readiness in the wireline and wireless communications sectors and the broadcast and cable media sectors are especially important in times of national and local emergencies. The private sector in the communications industry must do all it can to strengthen our nation’s vital communications systems and, with the assistance of the government at all levels, must be prepared to quickly restore damaged communications systems. We witnessed the need for this preparedness on 9/11, most notably in New York. The attacks took down many of the television broadcast signals emanating from atop the World Trade Center. Verizon’s central office in downtown Manhattan sustained severe damage; phone and data service was lost to much of lower Manhattan; cell phone services in New York were overloaded preventing the completion of calls. Though many in the communications and media sectors worked day and night to restore vital communications services to the public, it became clear that there was a need for better preparedness in securing our nation’s critical infrastructure. Also as discussed in some detail in The 9/11 Commission Report, we learned on 9/11 of the inability of public safety officials to, at times, effectively communicate with each other at each of the three attack sites. The communications problems, stemming largely from a lack of interoperability among public safety communications systems and from interference caused by users overloading the spectrum, were exacerbated by the fact that first responders were deployed to the sites from multiple agencies and multiple jurisdictions at the federal, state and local level. This led the 9/11 Commission to conclude that “[t]he occurrence of this problem at three very different sites is strong evidence that compatible and adequate communications among public safety organizations at the local, state, and federal level remains an important problem.” See The 9/11 Commission Report, Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States at 397. 1 The FCC Responds to 9/11 Private Sector Preparedness Shortly after the attacks, the FCC created the FCC’s Homeland Security Policy Council (HSPC) and later the Office of Homeland Security and charged these entities with coordinating the Commission’s internal and external homeland security agendas. One of the first missions of the HSPC was to provide leadership in working with the private sector in evaluating and strengthening the nation’s communications infrastructure and ensuring rapid restoration of that infrastructure in the event of disruption. Taking lessons learned from 9/11, we created the Media Security and Reliability Council (MSRC), a Federal Advisory Committee (FACA), to study, develop and report on best practices designed to assure the optimal reliability, robustness and security of broadcast and multichannel video programming distribution entities. Similarly, we rechartered another one of our FACAs, the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council (NRIC), to focus on homeland security by ensuring the security and sustainability of public telecommunications networks in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. Over the last three years, MSRC and NRIC have produced an unprecedented and unequaled set of recommendations for the media and telecommunications industries to ensure private sector preparedness against a potential terrorist attack. MSRC’s 100-plus voluntary Best Practices focus on public communications and safety, communications infrastructure security, access and restoration for our nation’s media outlets. Information on these Best Practices has been disseminated through panels, a joint workshop with the Department of Homeland Security and the distribution of over 13,000 brochures at industry conventions and other events. In addition, the Florida Association of Broadcasters, in cooperation with MSRC’s Public Communications and Safety Working Group, tested the Best Practices and sought input from local emergency managers and officials at a workshop in Tampa, Florida. Similar workshops are currently being planned for the near future. NRIC’s 800-plus Best Practices focus on physical security, cyber-security, business continuity and public safety. Information on the Best Practices is disseminated through numerous workshops, panels and at the international level through teleconferences. Moreover, over 600 stakeholders have received a DVD about NRIC Best Practices. In short, the FCC has engaged in an unprecedented level of outreach to the private sector to ensure our nation’s telecommunications and media infrastructure remain safe and operational during national and local emergencies. The Commission recently acted to support the ongoing work of NRIC by expanding our service disruption reporting rules to include wireless and satellite carriers as well as E911 services, all of which are vital to public safety. By requiring mandatory outage reports of carriers we enable prompt discovery of outages and assure that first responders, government leaders, and citizens will be able to quickly regain access to the services they depend on. We also assure that the work of NRIC will continue to be guided by trends in network reliability and security that are based on objective data. 2 Meeting the Needs of Public Safety The FCC has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring that public safety operators have sufficient spectrum that is free from harmful interference and supports public safety interoperability. The Commission currently has designated 97 MHz of spectrum from 10 different bands for public safety use. Most recently, the Commission adopted a solution to the ongoing and growing problem of interference faced by 800 MHz public safety radio systems. In addition to the interference and interoperability aspects of the 800 MHz Order, the Commission’s decision will result in an additional 4.5 MHz of 800 MHz-band spectrum becoming available for public safety and critical infrastructure licensees. In addition, the Commission reclaimed another 4 MHz of spectrum at 700 MHz that also may be put to use in advancing public safety communications. Furthermore, the Commission’s allocation of 50 MHz of spectrum at 4.9 GHz (4949-4990 MHz) promises to permit the use of new advanced wireless technologies by public safety entities. This spectrum is part of a transfer of Federal Government spectrum to private sector use. The Commission initially proposed to allocate the 4.9 GHz band for fixed and non-aeronautical mobile services and to auction it to commercial users, with no designation of the spectrum for public safety. However, in response to the events of September 11 and requests from the public safety community for additional spectrum for broadband data communications, the Commission designated the 4.9 GHz band for public safety use in February 2002 and adopted service rules in April 2003. The 4.9 GHz band will accommodate a variety of new broadband applications such as high-speed digital technologies, broadband mobile operations, fixed “hotspot” use, wireless local area networks and temporary fixed links, while also fostering interoperability. Consistent with the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the Commission also identified and allocated an additional 24 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band for public safety use. To better facilitate use of the 700 MHz public safety spectrum, the Commission adopted mandatory interoperability. The Commission also chartered a public safety advisory committee to develop a band plan designed to maximize the value of the spectrum to first responders. Of course, effective use of the 700 MHz band for public safety purposes throughout the country must await the end of the digital television transition when incumbent television broadcast stations vacate the spectrum. We have put in place a broad range of mechanisms that also promote interoperability. For example, we have designated certain channels in the public safety bands for public safety interoperability; a public safety entity can use the frequencies only if it uses equipment that promotes interoperable operations. We will require that, as of January 1, 2005, newly certified public safety mobile radio units must be capable of transmitting and receiving on the nationwide public safety interoperability band in which it is operating. We have provided for innovative licensing methods that, for example, promote state-level management of interoperable channels or promote spectrum sharing by state and local entities with Federal entities or with non-public safety entities. In addition, we have granted waivers of our rules as necessary to make spectrum available to multiple public safety agencies in a given area, and to permit sharing arrangements between public safety agencies and critical infrastructure entities. We have also promoted new technologies that promote interoperability, such as cognitive radio. This technology, which has the capability to sense environment and change power and frequency, makes it possible for 3 radios from different systems to operate seamlessly without prior coordination. We have adopted rules to allow the operation of improved Radio Frequency Identification Systems (RFID Systems), which will permit identification of the entire contents of containers and a determination of whether tampering has occurred; and authorized ultra-wideband capabilities for first responders; allocated spectrum for Intelligent Transportation Systems. Finally, we have adopted rules broadening the scope of E911 services to include mobile satellite services, certain telematic services, and resold and prepaid calling card services, and we have initiated a proceeding to determine whether IP-enabled voice services should be required to comply with our E911 rules. We have also worked with the National Communications System to provide Wireless Priority Access service in an increasing number of cities. In short, even before 9/11, the FCC was focused on ensuring the security and reliability of the industries that we regulate and on the needs of the public safety community. Since 9/11, we have worked tirelessly in these areas and are confident that we have, within the appropriate bounds of our jurisdiction, contributed in significant ways to the Homeland Security of our nation.
Witness Panel 2
Mr. David L. Donovan
Statement of David Donovan President of The Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. Before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the U.S. Senate September 8, 2004 SUMMARY Statement of David Donovan President of the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. As recently as this weekend’s Hurricane Frances in Florida, local television broadcasters have served a vital role in providing “real time” information to viewers in times of emergencies. Indeed, just about every community with an emergency preparedness plan cites the role of local television in staying connected with residents. Broadcasters recognize that while local television is a critical means for communicating news to the public in an emerge ncy, first responders and other public safety officials must be able to communicate with each other. The challenge, therefore, is to make more spectrum available for communication among public safety officials while at the same time preserving the integrity of the broadcast service by which information is most effectively communicated to the public. Proposals such as those advanced by H.R. 1425, however, would undermine the digital transition, requiring either the abandonment of 75 local television stations, including numerous Spanish- language and flagship DTV stations, or the relocation of these stations to a crowded in-core band that is currently unable to accept the unprecedented interference their operations would entail for the American public. Such an approach could result in interference to more than 300 television stations, thereby limiting the viewing options of 86 million Americans. MSTV urges Congress to instead foster a successful digital transition that will allow broadcasters to fulfill their role as the main link for the public during times of emergency while, where feasible, freeing up spectrum for interoperable communications between first responders and other public safety officials. Statement of David Donovan President of the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. Before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the U.S. Senate September 8, 2004 I. Introduction. Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss how to ensure that the vital public safety needs of the American public and those that serve to protect it are met. My name is David Donovan, and I am the President of the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc. (MSTV). Formed in 1956, MSTV’s mission is to promote the technical integrity of the American public’s free, overthe- air television service. For nearly two decades, MSTV has been a leading advocate for a transition to digital television that will bring maximum benefits to the public. MSTV compliments this Committee on bringing into focus such an important issue. It brings together two of the most significant entities responsible for protecting and informing the American public in times of local and national emergencies - the public safety community and the broadcast industry. As we have done for the past 50 years, broadcast television and public safety must work together to meet the challenges that now confront this nation. II. Television Broadcasting: A Critical Component In America’s Response To Terrorist Acts, Emergencies And Natural Disasters. September 11th deeply affected all Americans, including those of us in the broadcast industry. Because of its famous 360- foot television mast on the North Tower, a number of - 2 - broadcast engineers worked in that building and kept the public’s television service running during both weather and terror emergencies, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. But on that fateful day in September, six of these engineers lost their lives in offices on the upper floors just below the mast – people like Rod Coppola, who kept the operations of WNET’s channel 13 on the air from the 110th floor until the North Tower’s collapse that morning. Upon hearing news of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Americans huddled around television sets in schools, businesses, homes, and elsewhere to keep informed. On that chaotic day, local television broadcasters provided their communities with words of comfort and instruction not only from national political leaders, but also from their own governors and mayors. Lives were saved because television stations were able to disseminate critical information from government officials to the American public. This is a crucial function not only in terrorism-related emergencies, but during natural disasters as well. During emergency events, local broadcasters cut to continuous coverage to announce evacuation zones, emergency preparedness procedures, school closings, and the like. For example, as the Orlando Sentinel reported last month following Hurricane Charley, local broadcasters in Florida predicted and reported that the hurricane would hit areas far south of the trajectory previously announced by the National Hurricane Center.1 Timely anno uncement of this information to the people of Florida unquestionably saved lives. After the hurricane, many cable viewers in Florida were without service due to downed wires, whereas broadcasters continued to air uninterrupted 1 Orlando Sentinel, August 15, 2004 at A26, - 3 - coverage of the situation. 2 This past weekend, local Florida Broadcasters were called upon once again to disseminate lifesaving information. In fact, on September 3, 2004, the NAB distributed to Florida stations a number of disaster relief public service announcements. This information included the emergency numbers for the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Salvation Army. 3 Local television broadcasters recognize that one of their most important functions is to provide critical “real time” information to viewers in times of emergencies, both manmade and natural. Unlike the pay television services, local broadcasters are able to reach nearly 100 percent of a local community. Television broadcasters are thus an essential part of emergency preparedness. Federal, state, and local governments have expressly relied on broadcast television as a means to keep the public informed of critical emergency information. Broadcast television is a longstanding and key component of the Emergency Alert System for official government communication with the public during times of emergency. Beyond that “official” responsibility, just about every community with an emergency preparedness plan cites the role of local television in staying connected with residents. Our participation in the “Amber Alert” system places us on the front line in local law enforcement emergencies. The significance of our role was confirmed by the FCC shortly after the September 11th attacks, when it created the Media Security and Reliability Council (MSRC) to 2 Linda Moss, Big Wind, Huge Loss: Ops Move Slowly in Hurricane Area, Multichannel News, Aug. 23, 2004. See also St. Augustine Record, Aug. 1, 2004 (“In hard-hit Hardee County, Florida, southeast of Tampa, Albert Whiteras said he had no idea the storm was coming until his daughter saw a television news report that Charley had changed directions.”). 3 NAB website, http://nab.org/Newsroom/Press Rel/FrancesRelief.htm, visited September 4, 2004. - 4 - develop a comprehensive national strategy for securing and sustaining broadcast and other video communications facilities throughout the United States during terrorist attacks, natural disasters and all other threats or attacks nationwide. As MSRC stated in its Final Report earlier this year, maintaining local mass media communications with the public is an essential part of a community’s ability to cope effectively with emergency situations.4 This function includes working closely with local, state and federal authorities to disseminate critical information to the public during the emergency. The best practices developed as part of the MRSC’s recommendations will help insure that the American public continues to receive vital information. Similarly, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has stated that broadcast television and radio are “the first choice” for disseminating information to the public during a terrorist attack.5 It is important also to recognize that local television stations often serve as the front- line information source for other communications distribution mediums. Local television reporters not only serve their own viewers in times of emergency – they are the front- line reporters for other services, including the national networks, cable networks, Internet news services, and satellite news services. Many television stations partner with local radio stations during emergencies to continue broadcasting an audio feed for customers without electricity or battery-powered handheld televisions. Front- line television reporters also serve as a critical source of information for government decision makers and agencies during emergencies. In short, the entire information chain in this country often starts with local television news crews that are on the scene. 4 MSRC, Final Report, Feb. 25, 2004, at 19. 5 PBS Online News Hour, Newsmaker: Tom Ridge, Feb. 19, 2003. - 5 - - 6 - III. Broadcasters Are Working To Increase Public Safety Access To Spectrum. Broadcasters recognize that while local television is a critical means for communicating news to the public in an emergency, these same viewers will only be safe if first responders and other public safety officials are also able to communicate with each other. Such communication, in turn, depends on access to spectrum. To that end, broadcasters aligned with the public safety community to support the consensus plan by which Nextel will move out of the 800 MHz band and into spectrum currently occupied by broadcasters for electronic newsgathering (ENG), thereby making available interference- free public safety channels in the 800 MHz band. Indeed, in its landmark order adopting that new plan for the 800 MHz band, the FCC noted that “providing public safety with access to additional spectrum in the 800 MHz band should… provide a virtually instant capacity increase for public safety systems and will facilitate interoperability with other agencies – an important capability for Homeland Security operations.”6 Television broadcasters are currently working closely with Nextel to clear broadcaster’s use of spectrum in the 1.9 GHz band in an expedited fashion over the next 18 to 30 months. Similarly, in the top 13 broadcast markets, public safety has exclusive access to at least two television broadcast channels. In some markets such as Los Angeles, public safety has access to three channels. Recently, the FCC permanently reallocated channel 16 in New York for public safety purposes without objection from broadcasters. 6 Improving Public Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band, Report and Order (rel. Aug. 6, 2004), at ¶ 24. - 7 - IV. Successes and Ongoing Challenges Of The DTV Transition. The challenge is to make more spectrum available for communication among public safety officials while at the same time preserving the integrity of the broadcast service by which information is most effectively communicated to the public. Both services are vitally important to the American public. We believe that, with some government help, the interests of both can be accommodated – all to the benefit of the American public. A. The Digital Transition: Considerable Progress. MSTV and the broadcast industry are committed to ensuring that the American public’s free, over-the-air television service is preserved and enhanced by the transition to digital television, which will free up the channels in question for public safety uses. The best way to insure timely access to public safety spectrum is to enact policies that will accelerate consumer acceptance of the digital transition. Years of hard work have seen considerable progress, with 1307 out of 1600 television stations in 208 television markets now broadcasting a digital signal. These stations are, on average, operating at power levels that reach 92% of the population in their respective markets.7 In fact, 88% of US TV households are in markets that have access to five or more digital signals. Approximately 69% of US TV households are located in markets with access to 7 Fratrik, Mark, Reaching the Audience: An Analysis of Digital Broadcast Power and coverage, BIA Financial Network, October 17, 2003. - 8 - eight or more DTV signals.8 Soon, virtually all stations will be broadcasting both digital and analog signals. B. Over-The-Air Television Viewing Is Critically Important To The American Public. Over-the-air television viewing is pervasive and remains extremely important to the American consumer. While some argue that off-air viewing is only 15% of the audience, this grossly underestimates the size of the off-air television audience. A more recent analysis performed by NAB indicates that 18.9 percent of homes in the United States are not connected to cable or satellite services. This equates to over 20 million households with over 40 million people. This number may vary from market to market. For example, in some markets the number of homes not connected to cable or satellite services may reach as high as 40%. Variations may also occur along cultural lines. Univsion reports that nationwide, 33% of Hispanic households receive their programming solely over the air. 9 Furthermore, of more than 73 million television sets in this country, nearly 26% of all sets in the hands of consumers are not connected to either a cable or satellite service.10 8 NAB, Destination Digital TV, August 2004, Vol. 4, No. 6, at 1, http://www.nab.org/Newsroom/Issues/digitaltv/DDTV/0804.pdf, visited September 5, 2004 9 Comments of Univision Communications, Inc., in MB docket No. 04-210 at 8, August 11, 2004. 10 See, e.g., Comments of the National Association of Broadcasters in CS Docket No. 01-129, at 2 (Aug. 31, 2001) (“NAB Video Competition Comments”); see also Comments of the Association of Public Television Stations in MB Docket No. 04-210, at 10 (Aug. 11, 2004) (estimating 34.5 million over-the-air sets in homes that also subscribe to cable or satellite); Comments of the Consumer Electronics Association in MB Docket No. 04-210, at 4 (Aug. 11, 2004) (“[E]ven in cable and/or satellite households, not every television in the household may be connected to these services. This reflects the household’s conscious decision whether or not to connect.”) (“CEA Comments”); Comments of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. in MB Docket No. 04-210, at 3 (Aug. 11, 2004) (“Approximately 33 percent of the respondents [to a survey conducted by Sinclair] live in households with at least one television that is used exclusively for free, over-the-air analog reception. . . . [T]his amounts to more than 35 million households with (continued…) - 9 - Indeed, more than 20% of homes subscribing to cable have one or more television sets that are not connected to cable. Accordingly, policies directed clearing broadcasters from the band must not only consider non-cable and non-satellite households, but second and third sets in all homes. C. Completing The Transition: Consumer Acceptance Is The Key. This nation is at a critical stage in the digital transition. As indicated above, the transmission side of the equation – broadcast facilities – have been built. It is simply incorrect to assert that broadcasters are looking to delay the transition or are delinquent in the construction of DTV facilities. For the past several years’ broadcasters have operated under specific construction deadlines. The vast majority of broadcast television stations have fully complied with these requirements, and those who haven’t typically have been affected by events beyond their control, such as the September 11th attacks in New York.11 The critical issue now to be addressed by the government, television broadcasters and others, is creating the incentives for American consumers to turn off their analog television receivers and switch to receiving signals in a digital format. This is a problem that not only involves spectrum availability, but also raises issues such as the cost of DTV receivers and converter boxes. The public safety community and broadcasters share the same objective, the timely clearing of the upper 700 MHZ band that will permit use of the spectrum by public safety. We at least one television used exclusively for free, over-the-air analog reception. Approximately 20 percent of all televisions are used exclusively for free, over-the-air analog reception . . . [T]his amounts to more than 65 million televisions which are used exclusively for free, over-the-air analog reception.”) (“Sinclair Comments”). 11 Most recently the FCC has enacted new “use-it-or lose it” requirements. Under these rules stations will be required to operate a significantly higher power levels or lose their rights to full interference protection. Some stations will be required to spend millions of dollars building out facilities on “temporary” digital channels. - 10 - believe there are ways to achieve this result without causing massive disruption to consumers that rely on over-the-air television broadcasting. V. Congress Must Avoid Adopting Counterproductive Band Clearing Policies That Disrupt And Delay The DTV Transition. As explained below, if the transition is disrupted or brought to a premature conclusion, viewers will lose access to critical broadcast services and the public interest will suffer. Moreover, if the transition is disrupted due to ill-advised policies, the result could be to delay the time when public safety can gain access to this vitally- important portion of the band. A. The FCC’s Complex Channel Election And Repacking Process Should Proceed Without Disruption. Before the transition is complete, the nation’s digital television stations must be migrated from the current band (channels 2 through 69) to the final condensed “in-core” band (channels 2 through 51). The crux of the problem therefore is finding “room” for these stations in the core broadcast band. It must be remembered that no additional spectrum was granted to television stations for the digital transition. In other words, an additional 1600 digital television stations were squeezed in between the 1600 existing analog television stations. As a result, broadcast spectrum is over congested. This is especially true in the major markets such as Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles and their broadly-defined surrounding areas. Broadcast stations are occupying the out-of-core channels only because there is presently no room for them in the lower, in-core channels. Cognizant that the health of the nation’s television service rests on a successful digital transition, MSTV worked for almost 18 months with engineers throughout the broadcast industry to develop a consensus plan for the orderly channelselection and subsequent migration of all stations to final DTV channels in the new core - 11 - television spectrum; it then fine-tuned the plan with FCC staff. In August, the Commission adopted the plan as part of its second DTV periodic review order. Through an extremely complex process, the new FCC election plan envisions the creation of a new DTV table of allotments by 2007. Even where a final channel election has been made, the migration of all stations to their final in-core DTV channels cannot occur until consumers are ready for the transition. That is, in-core analog spectrum must be released (i.e., turned off) in order to free up enough space to move out-of-core stations to their final in-core DTV channels and thereby make room for public safety operations on channels 63, 64, 68, and 69. The fundamental cornerstone of this policy is the ability of local stations to follow an orderly process that permits them to avoid interference and elect their final DTV channel. Legislation such as H.R. 1425 would undermine this carefully crafted channel election and migration plan. As a practical matter, such legislation requires a hasty clearing not only of the four broadcast channels designated for public safety use, but adjacent channels 62, 65, and 67 as well. Across the U.S., this would require the relocation of 65 analog stations and 10 digital stations. Because the legislation would become effective on January 1, 2007, it would force stations on to their in-core channels, or in some instances on to new “third” channels before the FCC ‘s orderly election process is complete.12 Such a result would distort and degrade the channel election decisions of countless stations in these markets and surrounding markets. 12 Approximately 60 stations assigned to the continental United States have an in-core DTV channel with an out-of-core analog assignment. One station is assigned to Puerto Rico and four stations on these channels have both their analog and DTV assignments on channels that will be used for public safety. Two stations have one channel assigned to a public safety channel and another channel assigned to a channel in the lower 700 MHz band. Our interference analysis is limited to the 60 analog stations that have been assigned an in core DTV cha nnel in the continental Untied States. - 12 - B. Proposed Solutions Would Increase Interference, Deprive Local Viewers Of Important Services, And Delay The Digital Transition. Unlike the FCC’s current plan, legislation such as H.R. 1425 presents a Hobson’s choice: either abandon these 75 local television stations and the pubic that relies on them for a critical array of broadcast services or hastily relocate these stations to a crowded in-core band that is unable to accept the unprecedented interference their operation would entail for the American public. The first “option,” abandonment, would shock and harm the viewing public. As observed above, these 75 stations provide important services to their respective communities. For example, WWJ-TV, channel 62, is a CBS-owned station in Detroit reaching more than 1.9 million households. WUPA- TV, channel 69, is the UPN affiliate in Atlanta reaching more than 2 million TV households. WUPA’s 10 O’clock news is an important part of the Atlanta community, especially in minority neighborhoods. The same is true for the 10 O’clock news on KWSB-TV, channel 69, in San Diego. Mountain Broadcasting’s WMBC-TV, channel 63, provides a local news for Newton, NJ. WFMZ-TV, channel 69 (Allentown, PA), programs over 38 live newscasts each week, including five prime time newscasts each weeknight. Overall approximately 27 stations affiliated with the major television broadcast networks including WB, UPN, Fox, ABC, and CBS operate on the channels that would be affected by H.R. 1425. Approximately 11 of the analog stations occupying these channels are Spanishlanguage broadcasters. In many cases these channels are providing the Hispanic community with its prime source of news. For example in 2002 WUPV-TV, channel 65, launched the first full-service Spanish-language newscasts in the NJ/Philadelphia market. Telefutura TV stations, WFUT-TV, channel 68, New York and WFTY, channel 67, in Smithtown, NY, have significantly increased Spanish-language viewing options. In Austin, Univision’s KAKW-TV, - 13 - channel 62, has become a leading station in Hispanic homes, providing both local and network news. The same is true for WVEA-TV, channel 62, in Tampa. These stations are vitally important to the Hispanic community because off-air viewing is very high in Hispanic households, averaging 33 percent. In many of these homes, Spanish- language stations are the only source of news and information. There are also eight public educational TV stations occupying these channels. For example, WBCC-TV is a non-commercial educational station operated in Florida by Brevard Community College. It provides a comprehensive schedule of educational, cultural and informational programming, including telecourses of special interest. Also, approximately eight of the stations targeted for clearing by H.R. 1425 are religious stations. Ten digital television stations also occupy these channels. These digital channels were assigned these frequencies because there was simply no room to locate them on “in-core” channels. Among these stations are the flag ship DTV stations for Fox (KTTV-DT, channel 65 in Los Angeles), NBC (WCAU-DT, channel 67 in Philadelphia) and ABC (WPVI-DT, channel 64 in Philadelphia). At least two of these stations are Spanish language stations KTFK-DT, channel 62, in Stockton CA and KRCA-DT, channel 68, in Riverside CA. In addition Lehigh Public TV has its DTV facility on channel 62 in Allentown, PA, 13 13 The advent of digital services will enhance the public benefits of the over-the-air broadcast system. The FCC is currently considering proposals to improve the Emergency Alert System, and the unique capabilities of digital television will likely play a major role in a new alert system. Similarly, digital television stations can use their spectrum to “multicast” up to six standard-definition digital channels at a time during parts of the broadcast day. In addition to the “traditional” emergency information services provided by a local broadcaster on its primary channel, local broadcasters can use multicast channels to air, for example, focused emergency information to a particular geographic area within a station’s area of coverage. And in the aftermath of a disaster, broadcasters can use multicast channels to keep residents continually (continued…) - 14 - All of these stations are vitally important to the digital transition in their respective communities. We would note, however, that the flagship DTV stations for Fox, NBC and ABC are especially significant to the DTV transition. As the FCC has noted, top four affiliated stations in the largest markets are key drivers of the digital transition. Terminating DTV service on these stations could affect DTV program supply as well as the demand for new DTV sets in these major markets. The second “option,” early migration of these 75 stations, is no better, and would have the same, if not worse, result to the public as outright abandonment of the affected stations. As noted above, the channel election and migration process is complex – because of interference stations cannot merely be “stuck” wherever there is a seemingly “empty” allotment. “Interference” does not mean just degradation of service, but rather destruction of service, typically to three or more stations at a time. Thus, in all likelihood, these stations would be forced to attempt single-channel (i.e., only digital or analog) operations on their paired in-core channels. Yet because of different interference characteristics of analog and digital services, the 60 analog stations that would be forced off their current allotments could not simply relocate these operations to their in-core digital allotments without causing destructive interference to the public served by surrounding television stations, while suffering heavy interference losses themselves. This is a critical and often ignored ramification of an early migration policy. The issue is not merely the potential interference to the station attempting to move its out-of-core updated of community resources, disaster relief, and other cleanup efforts. On election evenings, they can cover national elections on one channel and local elections on another. - 15 - analog facilities on to its in-core DTV channels; the more destructive consequence is the amount of interference that will be caused to surrounding DTV and analog facilities. For example, if the 60 affected stations in the continental U.S. with an out-of-core analog station and an in-core DTV channel attempted to move analog operations to their in-core DTV channels, these stations would be short spaced to 199 analog stations and would interfere with 300 television stations.14 They would also cause interference to 31 Class A LPTV stations. The significance of the interference to surrounding stations will vary. For example in one instance, a single station would have an interference impact on 15 surrounding television stations. Four other stations would each interfere with 11 surrounding stations. When all of the potential interference is considered, moving the 60 aforementioned analog stations on to their in-core digital channels would result in interference to 86.5 million viewers. This includes new potential interference to viewers of operational in-core DTV facilities. As a result, these 60 analog stations relocating to their in-core DTV channels would have to either operate in a DTV-only mode or dramatically reduce their power levels – in either case disenfranchising the viewers who have come to rely on reception of a robust analog signal. Even then, they would cause and receive substantial quantities of interference. Similarly, the 10 stations whose digital signals would be cleared by legislation similar to H.R. 1425 could not relocate their digital operations to their preexisting in-core analog 14 This interference analysis uses Longley Rice methodology for both co-channel and adjacentchannel/ taboo-based interference. For the purposes of our interference analysis, among the 65 affected analog stations, MSTV analyzed 60 television stations in the continental United States that have an out-of-core analog channel and an in-core DTV channel. We did not analyze the interference that may result from the four stations that have both their analog and digital channels outside of the core and we also did not analyze the interference impact of one station in Puerto Rico. See also note 12. - 16 - channels without causing significant interference and ceasing operation of their analog signals presently relied on by the vast majority of their viewers. Abandoning analog service at this time could result in economic disaster for these stations. There simply are not enough off-air DTV viewers to support DTV-only operations at this time. Moreover, some stations would not even have this “choice,” as they lack an existing “paired” channel, unaffected by H.R. 1425, to which they could migrate in place of their out-of-core channel. Guaranteed cable carriage for DTV-only stations would not, as some interested parties have proposed, resolve the harms that premature clearing would produce. At this point in time, DTV carriage by itself is not a substitute for continued off-air analog transmission. While carriage of DTV signals is essential to help accelerate and successfully achieve the DTV transition, forcing stations to terminate analog service in return for suc h carriage cannot be justified. Taking away the analog audience would cripple the station financially, making it more difficult, or impossible, to finance the transition to digital. Moreover, the vast majority of cable television subscribers with analog-only television sets, who presumably would receive a downconverted digital signal, would have to rely exclusively on cable operators for reception of previously free broadcast television signals. Of course, millions of viewers do not subscribe to cable, and they would be left in the dark. And as noted above, even cable viewers rely on overthe- air access during times of emergency when cable lines are down. Finally, because the FCC has denied DTV-only stations carriage rights on DBS systems (which serve approximately 18 percent of Americans), satellite viewers of the dislocated stations would lose access as well. VI. Accommodating Public Safety’s Concerns: A Rational Alternative. - 17 - Local television broadcasters look forward to a successful transition to digital television that will allow broadcasters to fulfill their role (among their many other roles) as the main link for the public during times of emergency while freeing up spectrum for interoperable communications between first responders and other public safety officials. To best serve the interests of the American people, these goals should be pursued in harmony to avoid wide-scale viewer disenfranchisement. Congress and the FCC should therefore facilitate an efficient and effective transition to digital television for the American public that provides for cable carriage of broadcasters’ entire non-degraded digital signals both during and after the digital transition, keeps new DTV and analog sets free of interference from unlicensed devices (which the FCC has proposed to allow in the broadcast spectrum), and addresses ways to spur new sales of digital television sets. At the same time it may be possible to explore market-specific engineering solutions that would provide public safety with access to spectrum. While it may be difficult to free up an entire 24 MHz of spectrum, such an exploration could make available some spectrum in certain markets. Of course any solution would have to be carefully engineered so as to avoid interfering with existing ana log or digital television stations in these markets. Again, thank you for this opportunity to address how the goals of H.R. 1425 can be met without sacrificing the public’s television service. MSTV looks forward to working with Congress, the FCC, and the public safety community to further this goal and ensure a successful conclusion to the digital transition.
Mr. Gary Grube
Testimony of Mr. Gary Grube Corporate Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Commercial Government and Industrial Solutions Motorola Before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation September 8, 2004 Testimony of Mr. Gary Grube Corporate Vice President & Chief Technology Officer Commercial Government and Industrial Solutions Motorola Before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation September 8, 2004 Good afternoon, Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Hollings and Members of the Committee. My name is Gary Grube, and I am the Chief Technology Officer of Motorola’s business sector that serves state and local public safety and Federal law enforcement customers. I have worked with the 1st responder community for nearly 25 years. I want to express my appreciation to you, Mr. Chairman, for scheduling this hearing to address the communications needs of our first responders, and in particular to consider the need to provide timely access to much-needed spectrum in the 700 MHz band. You have been a great champion for the public safety community and the need to end the digital television transition expeditiously. I also want to thank Senators Stevens, Burns, and Hollings who have been delivering -- as well as exploring new ways to help get -- the funding local communities need for interoperable communications equipment. In a significant historical development that supports your view, the report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (hereinafter the “Report”) recently highlighted the critical need of the public safety community to have access to additional spectrum for its mission critical communications needs. It is an honor to be here with you today to discuss how we can implement the recommendations of the Report and provide for a safer America by ensuring that first responders have the resources needed for life-saving communications. Motorola’s Technology Heritage Motorola is a leading provider of communications and information solutions, with more than 65 years of experience in meeting the mission critical needs of our public safety customers. We offer an extensive portfolio of solutions specifically designed to meet the rapidly evolving safety and security needs of these customers. Our solutions include interoperable mission-critical radio systems based on the P25 public safety interoperability standard; command and control solutions; identification and tracking solutions; information management for criminal justice and civil needs; and physical security and monitoring solutions. In 2002, my business sector in Motorola received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's premier award for performance excellence and quality achievement. We continually strive to translate the quality processes upon which this award was based into high quality and reliable communications systems for our public safety customers. Motorola works very closely with our customers to help them implement communications capabilities needed for both every day mission critical needs and catastrophic events. As a company, Motorola has also been a leader in developing and providing technology for the broadcast and cable industries. In 1947, we built one of the first affordable TV sets, which was offered to consumers for under $200. In 1957, the company built the technology for the first pay-per-view cable event. In 1963, as TV upgraded from black and white to color, Motorola developed the first truly rectangular picture tube for color television in a joint venture with the National Video Corporation. The tube quickly became the standard for the industry. In 1972, we developed the first remote-controlled set-top box, and in 1992, Motorola helped launch the digital revolution by proposing to the government a concept that no one else had seriously considered – transitioning from analog to digital technology to drive the market to High-Definition TV (HDTV) and facilitate the recovery of spectrum. With a complete set of products for broadcasters, cable network operators, consumers and 1st Responders, the company is in a unique position to understand the needs of all of these parties and provide insight as you develop solutions that meet all of their needs. Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report The Report by the 9/11 Commission extensively reviewed how emergency responders communicated or, in too many cases, were unable to communicate, during the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The Report notes that there was substantial inability to communicate on the needed level of interoperability at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. While it is clear that prior coordination, advanced preparation and training by responding agencies greatly enhanced communications among emergency personnel when it was done, all too often this prior planning, coordination and training did not occur and the ability of multiple agencies to work together to maximize their life saving efforts was frustrated. Planning and coordination can only go so far, however, to provide effective communications in an emergency. Absent proper resources communications capabilities can quickly become overwhelmed, greatly diminishing their effectiveness. Proper resources not only include radios that can interoperate among agencies using a common standard, but also spectrum to ensure the availability of sufficient system capacity. The 9/11 Commission recognized this fact and recommends that Congress support pending legislation which provides for the expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety. Motorola fully supports this recommendation. The spectrum referred to in the report is in the 700 MHz band. Public safety identified the need for this spectrum eight years ago in a September 11, 1996 report by the Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee. That report, rather eerily, indicated that the 24 MHz under consideration today should be available within 5 years. As we all know, 5 years later the horrific terrorist attacks on our soil gave rise to the 9/11 Commission which is again, urging that these frequencies be made available to public safety. After the first report was published, Congress acted quickly in response, allocating this spectrum to public safety in 1997. Unfortunately, since then, public safety’s ability to use this spectrum has been greatly hampered or stopped in the areas where it is most needed – the major urban centers. The reason is the continued use of the spectrum for analog broadcast television services absent a date certain as to when the spectrum will be fully transferred to public safety’s use. The communication needs of public safety are too important to allow this uncertainty to continue. Swift action by this Congress can provide public safety access to one of the fundamental building blocks of an effective communications system – spectrum. Current law and policies set December 31, 2006 as the date for clearing television from the band. However, this is not a firm date. Broadcasters do not have to clear the band until 85% of the households in their service areas have the capability to receive digital TV, an environment unlikely to be met in most markets by yearend 2006 under the current rules. Under current law, while TV incumbents are required to vacate this spectrum at the end of 2006, they can receive an unlimited extension of this deadline based on the state of the transition in their particular market. So, in reality, there is no “hard date” when the transition will end and the spectrum will really be accessible to public safety everywhere. This is not the optimal situation for the public safety community and those they serve. We commend and encourage efforts by this Committee to act on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission that legislation be enacted that would clear this spectrum nationwide for public safety use no later than yearend 2006. The legislation referred to in the Report calls for television broadcast channels 63, 64, 68 and 69 to be made available to public safety as of December 31, 2006, by ensuring that these channels would no longer be used for broadcast television. We applaud Congresswoman Harman and Congressman Weldon for their dedicated and essential leadership on the HERO Act. This powerful proposal drives toward the critical spectrum needs promised to our country’s emergency responders and frontline homeland security providers. We ask that the Committee also bear in mind the impact that television operations on channels adjacent to public safety can have on its use. Clearing the channels allocated to public safety will improve the ability of public safety to use this much-needed spectrum, but such use will continue to be hampered by emissions from adjacent channel television operations. Accordingly, Motorola respectfully requests that legislation also include clearing broadcast use on channels adjacent to public safety. That is, both co-channels 63,64,68 and 69, and adjacent channels 62,65,and 67 must be cleared to provide public safety full access to its 24 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band throughout the U.S. Including these channels will make the spectrum fully available to public safety and provide a key component for increasing the capacity of public safety communication systems -- and allow for the deployment of advanced wideband technologies. Of course, legislating a complete and conclusive end to the entire digital television transition will have the effect of clearing all analog TV broadcast out of the band and thereby obviating the need to focus on specific channel clearing. Impact of Date Certain Clearing on the Viewing Public The reality is that 5% of this country’s TV stations are blocking improved public safety communications for 84% of the population in the largest cities, those over 200,000. Of that 84%, more than two-thirds have no access to the spectrum, while the remaining third have only limited access. When we look at all areas of the country, rural as well as urban, 54% of our country’s population is totally blocked by this relatively small number of TV stations from receiving any benefits of public safety communications in this band. Recognizing concern for the viewing public, Motorola conducted a study in order to fully understand the impact that clearing the television channels blocking public safety use would have. That study “700 MHz TV Clearing and its Impact on TV Viewership” is attached in its entirety. As shown in this study, the potential harm to the viewing public is limited. And the benefit to public safety is dramatic. First, only 75 stations, less than 5% of the more than 1500 U.S. TV stations, affect public safety’s availability of its Congressionally-mandated 700 MHz band frequencies. Second, Motorola’s analysis of independent television industry data shows that, on average, only 14% of the TV households who have the option to view these stations actually do so at all, and that of those viewing, 82% watch by cable. This means that, on average, only 3% of the TV households within these stations’ coverage areas actually tune to these stations over-the-air sometime during an average week. Technology Can Enable a Date Certain for the Digital Transition and Preserve Consumer Choice While clearing the 700 MHz spectrum for public safety will affect a small number of viewers relative to the improved security gains for many, Motorola believes there are viable options for minimizing the over-the-air impact while affording the invaluable benefits of completing the full transition to digital television. Completing the transition to digital television will have numerous benefits, including spectrum for advanced public safety and consumer services, enhanced and expanded viewing options for the public, more efficient use of the spectrum, and the likelihood that digital stations will provide a wide variety of data and other services to the public. The Committee is aware of an FCC plan that would complete the analog to digital TV transition by January 1, 2009 by implementing rules that would allow all cable and satellite TV viewers to be counted toward meeting the 85% digital signal penetration requirement of the Telecom Act.. We applaud the FCC for taking the leadership and initiative to move the debate toward a successful conclusion. However, the Congress could realize the gains of the transition even earlier than 2009 by complementing this proposal with the provision of inexpensive digital-to-analog over-the-air converter boxes to those that need them. A similar approach was used recently in Berlin, Germany to ensure a seamless and pain-free crisp analog to digital TV transition. This was achieved through the provision of converter boxes to some TV consumers who did not subscribe to cable or satellite TV service and maintained an analog TV set. We believe this is a positive step that could provide a real path forward on how to solve the transition here in the U.S. The Berlin Model worked. To make it a success, consumer education, a converter box subsidy, and a hard transition date combined for a real win. This type of approach can allow this Congress to reach a solution that addresses the needs of all stakeholders in this otherwise intractable debate on the stalled transition. The status quo cannot be allowed to stand. A simple technology solution that you can enable will guide the public and industry through the transition and fulfill the Committee’s years old vision of making available the advanced services in the 700 MHz band that will benefit the American people. Motorola is a TV set-top box provider. In recent comments to the FCC, we stated that -- assuming that the market is driven by a hard deadline of December 31, 2006 for the end of the DTV transition -- we estimate that the cost of a digital-to-analog over-the-air converter box would be approximately $67 per unit. The implications of this figure are profound. Such a price per unit would cap the cost of providing digital-to-analog converters at less than $840 million nationwide for all TV channels. With the certainty created by a fixed date for the end of the DTV transition, this amount would likely represent a small amount of the auction proceeds for commercial licenses in suitable spectrum that could be used to subsidize this commitment. Manufacturers generally need 12-18 months to design and build a new device such as this. This cycle time points to the need to enact DTV transition legislation, if a Berlin-type solution were part of the plan, by mid-year next year to meet the 2007 goal without disruption. In addition to providing those consumers who rely on over-the-air TV delivery with a cost effective way to continue to do so, the availability of cost-effective converter boxes is another tool the Congress can use to help recover all of the 700 MHz spectrum for new wireless services for consumers and 1st Responders. While government intervention in the marketplace is generally to be avoided, In this case it is necessary to correct an unintended market conflict that flows from the Telecom Act. Setting a firm transition date is critical to resolve the current chicken and egg conundrum of the DTV transition. As you know, doing so will not only provide critically needed spectrum for public safety, but will also unlock new entertainment and information services for consumers and will provide additional opportunities for American industry. Wireless communications provide our first responders with the right information, at the right time and in the right place, whether that information is voice, data, or video. Public Safety Needs 700 MHz Spectrum for Critical Technologies Motorola’s partnership with the public safety community over the years has taught us that first responders need systems designed specifically for mission critical operations to get the job done. For example, as with most of the Northeast and Midwest, the State of Michigan was confronted with a large-scale emergency during the August 2003 blackout. Despite the failures experienced by various commercial carrier networks in Michigan and surrounding states due to these power outages, Michigan’s nearly 12,000 public safety radios experienced no interruptions in communications. Police officers, firefighters and EMS providers worked as a team in real time to serve the public. Michigan had control over its communications because it had created a statewide mission critical network designed specifically for catastrophic situations and events, including the disruption of normal power sources. While many public safety entities also use public carrier networks for less critical communications, there is no substitute for mission critical systems when the safety of first responders and the public they serve is at risk. Effective mission critical mobile and portable communications systems are absolutely essential to public safety operations. Police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and their departments use mobile and portable communications to exchange information that can help protect public safety officials and the citizens they serve. Traditionally, this information was mostly exchanged by voice. Increasingly, as public safety entities strive to increase efficiency and effectiveness in today’s world, they also need the capability to reliably transmit and receive high performance data, still images and video . Spectrum is the road upon which such communications travel, and increased communications requirements lead to the need for more spectrum. Based on a thorough justification of need, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission dedicated 24 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band to State and local public safety in 1997. The FCC established specific nationwide interoperability channels within this spectrum allocation, as well as both narrowband and broadband channels to support a variety of identified public safety communications requirements. However, seven years later, incumbent television stations operating on channels 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 68 and 69 prevent public safety access to this essential resource in most major urban areas where the demand for more spectrum is the greatest. The recent focus on increased interoperability and Homeland Security make availability of this public safety spectrum nationwide even more critical. These channels are critical to public safety for two reasons: (1) Together, the new 700 MHz and current 800 MHz bands provide the best opportunity to integrate interoperable communications. The 700 MHz band’s proximity to the 800 MHz band allows public safety agencies to expand their current 800 MHz narrowband voice and data systems for interoperability and regional coordination on an “intra” as well as “inter” agency basis. Equipment operating in these combined frequency bands on the FCC-endorsed Project 25 interoperability standard is commercially available today. The FCC has granted each state a license to operate such narrowband communications in the 700 MHz band. Localities throughout the country are actively engaged in spectrum planning at 700 MHz, a prerequisite for obtaining their own FCC licenses. For example, after a yearlong review by the FCC, the Southern California regional plan was recently approved, but TV incumbency prevents actual use of the spectrum in much of that area. (2) 700 MHz is the only dedicated spectrum allocation where public safety can implement advanced mobile wide area systems that bring high-speed access to databases, the intranet, imaging and video to first responders out in the field. This technology offers a whole new level of mobile communications capabilities, which is far beyond today’s voice and low speed data applications. For example: a. An officer or agent could transmit video of a potential bomb, or biological weapon and get real time counsel from an expert in another location. b. Local or state police could instantly send or receive a photograph of a missing or abducted child. c. Crime scene investigators can transmit live video of footprints, fingerprints and evidence to speed analysis and apprehension of perpetrators. d. Firefighters can access building blueprints, hydrant locations hazardous material data and other critical information. e. Paramedics can transmit live video of the patient to doctors at the hospital that would help save lives. Motorola previously conducted wideband trials together with public safety entities in Pinellas County, Florida and the City of Chicago. We are also proud to be part of the broadband demonstration that is being led by Robert LeGrande, Deputy Chief Technology Officer for the District of Columbia Government and look forward to working with them to demonstrate that project to Members of Congress on the 23rd of this month. We are proud to be working with him on an innovative solution that will deliver powerful applications to the frontline 1st preventers here in our Nation’s Capitol. All of these trials operate under experimental 700 MHz licenses from the FCC. The capabilities demonstrated are the emerging powerful multi-media applications that will bring public safety communications into the Twenty-First Century. As you know, the 24 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band is allocated for State and local public safety use. That spectrum, if cleared, would only partially satisfy the spectrum need documented by the public safety community. No comparable spectrum allocation exists for meeting the Homeland Security requirements of Federal agencies or critical infrastructure entities. Such interoperability among State and local first responders, Federal agencies and critical infrastructure entities will best be achieved through the availability of comparable spectrum resources. Therefore, we recommend that Congress consider meeting these additional needs by reallocating the remaining 30 MHz of commercial spectrum in the 747-762 MHz and 777-792 MHz portions of the band which are presently targeted for auction. This spectrum should be reallocated as a Homeland Security band to support State, local, Federal and critical infrastructure (such a utilities and nuclear facilities) communications needs. We also note that a spectrum coalition headed by Mr. LeGrande, has requested that 10 MHz of additional spectrum at 700 MHz be designated for broadband use. Since that 10 MHz would be located within the 30 MHz recommended for reallocation here, the recommendations are not inconsistent. Once cleared, the original 24 MHz of spectrum allocated to Public Safety in 1997 will support narrowband and wideband applications for state and local government agencies. Narrowband 12.5 kHz channels provide the capacity for voice and text-like data. This will help promote interoperability as public safety entities necessarily expand their capabilities. Notably, narrowband radios which support both 700 & 800 in one radio are already available. As users purchase additional radios for their 800 MHz systems, they will have the capability to use the 700 MHz band once it is cleared. Wideband spectrum at 700 MHz supports applications such as image-rich records access and moderate speed video streaming over wide areas. The Public Safety community, the FCC and multiple equipment manufacturers have already spent considerable time and resources to develop the operational and technical rules for that 24 MHz of spectrum. In addition, both narrowband and wideband interoperability standards have been developed and are supported by multiple competitive manufacturers. For example, the TIA902 standard for wideband public safety operations at 700 MHz has been developed and unanimously adopted by the public safety community and multiple competitive manufacturers. Subsequently, the TIA 902 wideband standard was endorsed by the Public Safety community and specifically recommended for FCC adoption. Reallocating the additional 30 MHz of compatible spectrum in the 700 MHz band for Homeland Security will provide the additional capacity needed so that these operational benefits can be extended to Federal agencies and critical infrastructure entities. One of the key interoperability problems occurring on September 11 was the inability of Federal agencies to communicate with local agencies at the Pentagon crash. The reason, local agencies were operating at 800 MHz and Federal agencies were on incompatible bands in other parts of the spectrum. In addition, a portion of the 30 MHz could be designated for broadband use to support local, State and Federal agencies. Currently, no level of government - local, State or Federal - has been allocated sufficient spectrum to support wide-area broadband operations. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) SafeCom Statement of Requirements for Public Safety Wireless Communications & Interoperability, V1.0, March 10, 2004 stated that "voice communications are critical, but voice communications requirements are not the only issue....public safety agencies are increasingly dependent on sharing of data, images, and video", so broadband is a must. Broadband requires channels that are multiple MHz wide to utilize established industry broadband standards and carry real time high quality streaming video. Broadband channels today range from 1.25 MHz to 5 MHz wide. As noted by Mr. Robert LeGrande, broadband requires spectrum beyond that which was allocated in the 24 MHz blocks. In summary, the additional 30 MHz of spectrum at 700 MHz would fill out Homeland Security communications capabilities by providing compatible narrowband and wideband spectrum for Federal agencies and critical infrastructure entities, and broadband capabilities for all levels of government and critical entities. As part of this reallocation, Congress should charter a committee of key representatives from major public safety associations, Federal agencies and critical infrastructure entities to determine how that additional 30 MHz of spectrum should be distributed among State, local, Federal and critical infrastructure entities. This committee should also include technical expertise from industry, at least in an advisory capacity. This is necessary to properly organize the channels to accommodate multiple types of Homeland Security operations with minimal risk of interference among multiple broadband, wideband, and narrowband operations. Should the government wish to pursue this important reallocation of spectrum, anticipated auction revenue from this 700 MHz band spectrum would no longer be available. However, substitute spectrum, in the 2 GHz band, could provide potentially stronger auction receipts and exceed the anticipated revenue of the already-identified 30 MHz. A portion of these revenues, instead, could be used to support a Berlin Model-type subsidy solution domestically. Motorola greatly appreciates this Committee’s continued policy thrust to find ways to reinvest spectrum auction revenues in ways to advance technology deployment and economic development, whether it is the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act (also known as the “Spectrum Relocation Bill”) that the House has passed and this body has marked up or the Chairman’s consideration of using auction revenues to help support the return of the analog TV frequencies, through a Berlin-type solution, for other valuable services – including public safety interoperability. We urge the Committee not to be deterred from sticking to the December 31, 2006 goal because it has been hard to achieve to date. Rather, once it has been reaffirmed without exceptions, the affected parties, including the relevant government agencies, the public safety community, the broadcasters and other industry parties, including our company, should be called upon to devote our energies to making it happen. In closing, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, making spectrum available for new innovative technologies to support first responders and consumers nationwide by the end of 2006 will not happen without your commitment and your help. The Report of the 9/11 Commission has reaffirmed the need for this spectrum and added new impetus to making it available to our Nation’s 1st Responders. We urge you to take swift action in the remaining legislative days this year to make this important long-awaited objective a reality for law enforcement, fire fighters, emergency medics, and your constituents. Motorola stands ready to support its customers and this Committee to help minimize the impact on the viewing public of making 700 MHz spectrum available and to put this spectrum to its highest and best use – protecting American citizens. We respectfully urge the Congress to take action to implement the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to make the 700 MHz spectrum fully available to public safety by a date certain. Thank you.
Mr. Robert LeGrande, II
STATEMENT OF ROBERT LEGRANDE, DEPUTY CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION UNITED STATES SENATE ON SPECTRUM FOR PUBLIC SAFTEY AND THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT September 8, 2004 Introduction Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. My name is Robert LeGrande. I am a Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), the central information technology and telecommunications agency of the District of Columbia government. I am responsible for wireless communications infrastructure for the District government, and a representative of the national Spectrum Coalition for Public Safety. As the leader of the District of Columbia’s wireless public safety voice and data communications programs, I have partnered with officials and field personnel of the District’s Metropolitan Police and Fire & EMS Departments to upgrade our public safety voice network and install public safety broadband wireless networks. During this process, I gained deep appreciation of the demands our first responders face every day and the urgency of their communications needs. Today I will describe the efforts of the District of Columbia to meet those needs in the city and the region. I will also discuss the efforts of the national Spectrum Coalition for Public Safety to meet the communications needs of first responders nationwide by securing an additional 10 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum so that public safety agencies throughout the nation can deploy broadband wireless networks for homeland defense. The District’s Wireless Program for Public Safety and Homeland Defense As the nation’s capital, the District is a prime target for terrorism and the focal point for regional response to potential terrorism and other emergencies. Recognizing this critical role, in April 2002 we launched a program to provide local, regional, and federal first responders the best and most complete suite of wireless communications tools possible, both voice and broadband data. This program anticipated the communications needs identified by the 9/11 Commission. The Commission’s report vividly attests to the problems New York firefighters in the World Trade Center faced because they lacked adequate communications tools: FDNY North Tower Operations command and control decisions were affected by the lack of knowledge of what was happening 30, 60, 90, and 100 floors above. According to one of the chiefs in the lobby, ‘One of the most critical things in a major operation like this is to have information. We didn't have a lot of information coming in. We didn't receive any reports of what was seen from the [NYPD] helicopters. It was impossible to know how much damage was done on the upper floors, whether the stairwells were intact or not.’ According to another chief present, ‘People watching on TV certainly had more knowledge of what was happening a hundred floors above us than we did in the lobby .... [W]ithout critical information coming in .... it's very difficult to make informed, critical decisions[.] (Emphasis added.) Kean, Hamilton, et al., The 9/11 Commission Report (hereinafter, “9/11 Commission Report”) (July 22, 2004) at 298. The 9/11 Commission Report also finds that similar communications obstacles occurred at three different sites and therefore concludes that compatible and adequate communications among public safety organizations at the local, state, and federal levels remains an important problem.. Id. at 397. To assure that the tragic history of the North Tower firefighters does not repeat itself, the Commission’s report recommends that [h]igh-risk urban areas such as New York City and Washington, DC should establish signal corps units to ensure communications connectivity between and among civilian authorities, local first responders, and the National Guard. Federal funding of such units should be given high priority by Congress. Id. Mr. Chairman, the District’s wireless group is the “signal corps unit” the Commission recommends. Because we started our wireless communications program 2 ½ years ago, our work in the voice area is largely complete, and our broadband data communications efforts are well underway. The diagram provided as Attachment I depicts our accomplishments in wireless voice and our vision for wireless broadband. As shown in the diagram, our recently upgraded 10-site wireless voice network provides comprehensive in-building coverage, augmented by 63 vehicular repeater systems to provide the highest possible level of voice communications coverage anywhere in the city. The network has created interoperability among the District’s police and fire personnel, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit authority (WMATA) police, and our regional and federal partners. In addition, using distributed antenna techniques, we’ve attained for the first time virtually 100% coverage throughout the regional underground subway system within the District. Today, the District has one of the best public safety wireless voice systems in the nation. Our network provides comprehensive coverage, maximum clarity, 27 channels, regional interoperability, encryption, and other digital features. Local, regional, and federal first responders can communicate with each other, clearly, securely, immediately, anytime, anywhere. We’re working to expand interoperability throughout the National Capital Region and with other federal partners such as the Department of Defense. But are our regional first responders fully equipped to meet the next terrorist attack or other major emergency? No: even the state-of-the-art voice system we now have is not enough. The threats to our country and region are real and imminent. Broadband tools for citywide remote surveillance, helicopter video transmission, chemical and biological weapon detection, bomb squad support, and other uses are critical to preventing attacks and responding to attacks swiftly and effectively. In planning to provide these tools, we carefully evaluated the use of commercially available wireless networks, wideband wireless networks, and networks deployed at the 4.9 GHz spectrum. None met our requirements for individual user data rate, aggregate data rate, and wide-area coverage. (See Attachment II, Public Safety Broadband Data Requirements and Spectrum Overview, for an analysis of public safety wireless broadband data requirements and the available spectrum alternatives.) A detailed analysis is provided in Appendix I, Public Safety Broadband Wireless Data Requirements and Solutions. Moreover, individuals and organizations who wish to do us harm already have citywide broadband wireless capabilities in the District, North Carolina, and San Diego. They can sign up anonymously for Verizon or Nextel services in these areas and conduct real-time broadband intelligence gathering, video surveillance and, worst, attack coordination with far better coordination capabilities than those deployed by the terrorist cell in Madrid, Spain. Our first responders need better tools than the terrorists already have. With the coordination and video surveillance capabilities of broadband and a fully interoperable voice system like the District’s new network, the North Tower firefighters would not have suffered the tragic communications obstacles noted by the 9/11 Commission. Firefighters in the lobby would have been in touch with those many floors above, and all would have known what the helicopters were seeing at the same time. Precious minutes would not have been lost to uncertainty and confusion. Lives -- perhaps hundreds of lives -- could have been saved. Broadband wireless capabilities are vital to preparing for the communications challenges of another attack. In addition, as the Madrid case makes starkly clear, we need tools to help prevent and curtail attacks on our regional mass transit systems. Wireless broadband can quickly support remote sensors that detect biological and chemical weapons at deployment, in time to shut down and evacuate a rail system before significant casualties occur. With such capabilities, we can blunt an attack or, better yet, deter one because terrorists will know in advance that the payoff is minimal. Imagine the difference between no attack, or a rapidly contained attack, and what happened in Madrid. I think you’ll agree that broadband wireless tools are essential for public safety. Other broadband wireless tools can help manage those attacks or emergencies that we can’t prevent. For example: · Real-time street monitoring and video pre-assessment capabilities will help first responders and emergency management officials pursue suspects and manage and speed mass evacuations. · Helicopter video transmission to First Responders on the ground and in remote out door locations will provide valuable on scene information from the air. · On-line medical consultations and pre-admissions assessments during ambulance trips will speed medical care and relieve pressure on hospitals and clinics in the event of mass casualties. To meet the urgent need for homeland defense tools like these, the District’s wireless program includes a two-pronged initiative aimed at delivering next-generation broadband wireless solutions to the nation’s capital and, potentially, the nation. The first component of our initiative is launching the nation’s first citywide broadband wireless public safety network. Under an 18-month experimental license approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), we’re deploying, on a pilot basis, a network of 10 sites distributed across the District of Columbia. Our design uses Flarion Technologies’ FLASH OFDM network, and Motorola’s newly developed Greenhouse video dispatch application, which enables high-quality, multi-directional, streaming video content requiring a minimum of data speed. Thanks to continuing cooperation from the FCC and the Department of Homeland Security, and excellent support from our corporate partners Flarion Technologies, Televate, Motorola, Intergraph, IBM, Nextel, and SAIC, the full 10-site pilot network is now complete. Attachment III (District of Columbia Wireless Broadband Pilot Network Two-Way Video conference Demonstration) shows a few members of our team conducting a videoconference between the Capitol and our MPD headquarters. We will perform an hour-long demonstration of the system on Capitol Hill on September 23. All Members of Congress will shortly receive invitations to attend. I urge all of you to take this opportunity for a real-time view of broadband public safety solutions. We started our project with interoperability in mind, so our next step, after fully testing the citywide network, will be to expand the network throughout the National Capital Region. We will need federal financial support to take this step, and we hope that, consistent with the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, we’ll receive that support. We’ve already received outstanding operational support from the U.S. Park Police and Fairfax and Montgomery Counties. With federal assistance and the continued cooperation of our regional partners, we’ll soon have a regionally interoperable wireless broadband network that will revolutionize this region’s first responder communications capabilities. Perhaps most importantly, our regional network will provide a fully designed and tested solution that jurisdictions around the nation can replicate to equip their own first responders with the full range of wireless communications capabilities for public safety and homeland defense. However, the ability of the District to maintain our network, and the ability of other jurisdictions to replicate it, require that the FCC and Congress supply a missing ingredient: spectrum. Wireless broadband solutions are bandwidth-intensive, and public safety agencies around the nation simply don’t have enough dedicated spectrum to support the wireless communications tools they need. And this brings me to the second prong of our wireless broadband initiative. The Spectrum Coalition: Seeking Dedicated Spectrum for Public Safety One year ago the District of Columbia founded the Spectrum Coalition for Public Safety, a national coalition of 30 states, counties, cities, regions, and public safety organizations committed to common objectives. As discussed in the Spectrum Coalition fact sheet, Attachment IV, a key goal of the Coalition is to pursue legislation that would require the FCC to reserve 10 MHz of radio spectrum in the 700 MHz band for wide-area public safety broadband wireless uses. (The Coalition’s proposed legislation is provided as Attachment V.) In fact, this legislative goal aligns with another recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, which stated that Congress should support legislation providing for the expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety purposes. (See 9/11 Commission Report at 397.) However, while assigning spectrum is a valuable step, without clearing spectrum, it is of no use. Existing television broadcasts in the 700 MHz band and public safety transmissions will interfere with one another when using the same or nearby frequencies. Therefore, the Spectrum Coalition for Public Safety asks that all Public Safety spectrum in the 700 MHz band be cleared by January 1, 2007. The needs for this spectrum exist today and will increase over time. The longer access to the spectrum is delayed, the longer our first responders and those they protect will live with increased risks. Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the Spectrum Coalition, I urge you to address the Commission’s recommendation by enacting the Coalition’s proposed bill and by encouraging prompt spectrum clearing. Your action will take a huge step toward assuring that our nation’s first responders, in New York, here in the District, and across the country, are equipped with the best tools available to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks. Finally, I would like to identify one other initiative now underway in the District of Columbia that responds directly to another 9/11 Commission recommendation: The District of Columbia is building a state-of-the-art public safety and homeland defense communications center. Our Unified Communications Center (UCC) is a 127,000-square-foot building on the East Campus of St. Elizabeths Hospital where the District of Columbia will consolidate the emergency communications functions of all first-responder agencies – police, fire, and emergency management – as well as the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) traffic management function. The UCC will also serve as the District’s Emergency Operations Center, and the Regional Incident Communications Command and Control Center (RICCC), during major local events and local/regional emergencies. As the RICCC, the UCC will play a critical homeland defense role, facilitating and coordinating communication among local, state and federal authorities for effective and timely response to terrorist attacks and other emergencies. In addition, because it houses the District first-responder communications centers and traffic management function, the UCC will provide essential support for emergency response by District fire, police, and emergency management officers, and for traffic management of evacuations from the nation’s capital. The District needs federal financial support to complete the UCC, and we would welcome your assistance in securing it. Conclusion As I’ve explained, the District of Columbia is carrying out several major initiatives designed to assure optimal communications for first responders in the National Capital Region, and the nation, and to address key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. We respectfully request that this Committee and the entire Congress support these initiatives by: · Helping fund the expansion of the District’s broadband wireless network to the entire National Capital Region; · Enacting legislation to provide an additional 10 MHz of 700Mhz-band spectrum for wide-area broadband wireless public safety applications; · Accelerating 700Mhz spectrum clearing efforts; and · Helping fund the completion of the Unified Communications Center. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today, and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Chief Stephen T. Devine
TESTIMONY OF CHIEF STEPHEN T. DEVINE PATROL FREQUENCY COORDINATOR MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL on behalf of the ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC-SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS OFFICIALS-INTERNATIONAL, INC. Before the COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE & TRANSPORTATION UNITED STATES SENATE September 8, 2004 Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee for the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Stephen T. Devine. I am a chief within the Communications Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and serve as Patrol Frequency Coordinator. I am here today on behalf the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, Inc. (“APCO”), the nation’s oldest and largest public safety communications organization. Founded in 1935, APCO has 17,000 members, most of who are state or local government officials who manage and operate communications systems for our nation’s first responders. APCO works closely with organizations such as the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), both of which have authorized me to inform you of their support of my testimony here today. APCO, IAFC, IACP and other organizations are part of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC), and I am privileged to serve both as chair of the NPSTC Spectrum Management Committee, and as a member of APCO’s Spectrum Policy Committee. I am also chair of the Missouri (Region 24) 700 MHz and 800 Regional Planning Committees, and serve as APCO Local Frequency Advisor for the state. The events of 9/11 have certainly made the public more aware of the critical importance of public safety communications. Our new national efforts to protect homeland security also place a premium on ensuring that our first responders have access to all of the communications tools they need to protect the safety of life and property. That in turn requires adequate funding, allocation of sufficient radio spectrum, and other steps to promote efficient and effective communications among first responders. The recently released Report of the 9/11 Commission recommends that Congress “support pending legislation which provides for the expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety purposes.” The need for additional public safety radio spectrum is not a new issue, and certainly pre-dates the tragedies of 9/11. Eight years ago, the Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee (PSWAC) completed an 850-page study of public safety spectrum requirements and recommended that 97.5 MHz of additional spectrum is needed for public safety, including a requirement within five years for approximately 25 MHz from the spectrum presently used for TV stations 60-69 (the “700 MHz band”). In a cruel irony, the date of the final PSWAC report was September 11, 1996, exactly five years before 9/11. Yet, the spectrum identified by the PSWAC Report was not available nationwide in 2001, and is still not available in most of the nation. The “pending legislation” referred to in the 9/11 Commission Report is a bill (H.R. 1425) proposed by Representatives Jane Harman (D-CA) and Curt Weldon (R-PA) that would require the TV channel 60-69 spectrum identified in the PSWAC report to be made available nationwide no later than December 31, 2006. Under current law, adopted as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, nationwide public safety access to that spectrum is postponed indefinitely. The 1997 Balanced Budget Act did require the FCC to allocate 24 MHz for public safety from the 700 MHz band spectrum, and the FCC responded by reallocating spectrum now occupied by TV channels 63, 64, 68, and 69. However, the 1997 Act also permits TV stations to continue analog operations on those channels until 85% of television households in the relevant markets have the ability to receive digital television (DTV). Public safety needs that spectrum now, not at some future, uncertain date determined by DTV deployment. Congress should follow the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and pass legislation to establish December 31, 2006, as a firm date for the 700 MHz public safety spectrum to be available nationwide. The 700 MHz band spectrum already allocated for public safety would be extremely beneficial for our nation’s first responders. In many urban and suburban areas, there is simply not enough spectrum available to meet the increasing demand for police, fire, EMS, emergency management, homeland security and other public safety communications. Inadequate spectrum leads to congested channels and interference among licensees, potentially blocking life-saving radio communications and generating confusion during critical incidents. Additional spectrum capacity would alleviate that congestion and allow for much faster “ramping up” of communications capability when major emergencies occur. The 700 MHz spectrum would nearly double the amount of spectrum available for public safety mobile voice and data communications, though it still falls well short of the PSWAC recommendations. Significantly, the 700 MHz public safety spectrum is adjacent to existing public safety spectrum allocations in the 800 MHz band, allowing for expansion and the incremental growth of crowded radio systems without sacrificing interoperability. The 700 MHz band public safety spectrum will play a very important role in addressing the serious interoperability problem that often faces first responders in the field. All too often first responders from different agencies cannot communicate because their radios operate on entirely different frequency bands. One of the most effective long-term solutions to this problem is to consolidate agencies on common frequency bands and, if feasible, on “trunked” multi-agency radio systems. Many such systems exist today in the 800 MHz band. However, there is no longer room in the 800 MHz band in most areas for new or expanded multi-agency systems, so additional spectrum is necessary. Within the 700 MHz band, the FCC has designated 32 interoperability channels, and approved a digital interoperability standard for those channels, known as “Project 25,” to ensure that radios from different manufacturers will still be able to communicate in a digital environment. The FCC’s detailed rules for the use of the 700 MHz public safety spectrum were based upon the recommendations of the Public Safety National Coordination Committee (NCC). I served as a working group chair for the NCC, which consisted of public safety communications experts from around the nation. The NCC developed a comprehensive spectrum plan to maximize efficiency, promote interoperability, and ensure the spectrum would be allotted for the most critical services in each of the 55 FCC designated regions. My state, Missouri, is fortunate to be one of the few regions where the 700 MHz public safety spectrum band is not blocked by TV stations. Therefore, we can use the spectrum now, and are moving forward to do so. Several public safety agencies in the state are anxious to proceed with 700 MHz deployments as soon as the FCC approves our regional plan. Unfortunately, most other parts of the country are not so lucky. Unlike St. Louis and Kansas City, most metropolitan areas cannot use 700 MHz spectrum until TV stations vacate the spectrum. Thus, Congress needs to change existing law to establish a firm date for nationwide access to this spectrum State and local governments need a firm date so they can proceed with planning, funding, and construction of new radio systems, safe in the knowledge that the spectrum will be there when the systems are ready to be deployed. As noted above, an important benefit of the 700 MHz spectrum is that it will promote interoperability. However, spectrum alone will not solve the interoperability problem. There also needs to be expanded funding for equipment, and more extensive planning and cooperation among public safety personnel at all levels of government. This includes local governments who must interoperate with their neighbors and with overlapping jurisdictions, regional authorities covering large metropolitan areas and sometimes crossing state borders, states through their State Interoperability Executive Committees (SIECs), and the federal government. Solving interoperability is a complex problem, with no single answer for the entire country. Nor is it necessary for every first responder to have the ability to communicate seamlessly with every other first responder in the nation at any one time. Rather, interoperability is inherently a regional issue, where procedures, equipment, and radio frequency assignments should allow those who need to communicate to do so when and where they need to. Creating an interoperable environment faces different obstacles in different regions. Sometimes it is a funding problem, sometimes it is a spectrum problem, and sometime it is simply a matter of planning and procedures being in place to utilize existing resources. Thus, each region needs to evaluate its own situation, and then identify the most appropriate combination of solutions. Mr. Chairman, the 9/11 Commission barely touched on the critical communications issues facing public safety agencies in the post-9/11 world. I assure that the issue is being given the highest attention in far more detail by national organizations and public safety agencies across the nation. The Department of Homeland Security’s SAFECOM Program, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the FCC are playing critical roles in helping us to identify and implement solutions. Congress can help by providing necessary funding, and by following the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that it pass legislation to free up the 700 MHz band public safety spectrum for nationwide use no later than December 31, 2006. Thank you Mr. Chairman for the opportunity to appear before you today.
Mr. Lowell Paxson