L.R. Kimball Supports Reallocating the D Block to Public Safety

The firm believes allocating the D block for public safety will assure that first responders are positioned to take advantage of future advanced technologies and applications

Oct 14, 2010, 13:29 ET from L.R. Kimball

EBENSBURG, Pa., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- L.R. Kimball, (www.lrkimball.com) a Pennsylvania-based architecture, engineering and communications technology firm, today announced its support for reallocation of the D block to public safety.  The announcement came on the heels of legislation introduced last month by Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John (Jay) Rockefeller on the controversial topic of the 700 megahertz band D block and a nationwide public safety network.  

Currently, the FCC is obligated to auction the spectrum to commercial use.  A number of bipartisan groups have introduced legislation requiring the FCC to reallocate the D block to public safety, but the future still remains uncertain.  The FCC contends that the public safety industry does not need the D block of spectrum based on their proposal for an approach that would allow roaming and priority access to the entire 80 MHz of the commercial carrier spectrum. However, L.R. Kimball's public safety communications experts have the same concerns over this approach as expressed by the Public Safety Alliance -- such as less robust coverage and reliability standards and uncertainty that all of the roaming, priority and pre-emption issues could be resolved.

"Reallocating the D block to public safety presents an unprecedented opportunity to create a dedicated 20 MHz block of spectrum that offers the characteristics needed to support today's technologies like Long-Term-Evolution (LTE)," commented L.R. Kimball broadband expert and senior public safety consultant Kevin McGeary.  "The types of applications and technologies that public safety will need to support in the future may be inconceivable today, but it is certain that wider bandwidth and high speeds will be required to support whatever will come.  Combining the D Block with the adjacent 10 MHz already allocated for public safety will not only create a wide bandwidth piece of spectrum needed for these technologies, it will do it in a frequency band with the most desirable characteristics for coverage and performance relative to the needs of the public safety industry."

Assigning the D block to public safety could also help ensure sufficient dedicated broadband spectrum capable of supporting Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1). NG9-1-1 refers to an initiative to update the nation's 9-1-1 telecommunications infrastructure to improve emergency communications. NG9-1-1 that will support new services like video and still images from crime scenes, location information from heart-monitoring devices and other applications requiring high-speed connectivity.

By announcing their support for the allocation of the D block to public safety, L.R. Kimball is joining a large list of public safety organizations that support the initiative including the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO), the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Public Safety Alliance.  

"Overcoming this hurdle will address pent up demand for wireless broadband capable of supporting public safety applications and information sharing.  While it is being addressed in Washington, we are already beginning to see movement in procuring equipment.  Building a public safety wireless broadband network using dedicated spectrum adjacent to the commercial systems will bring huge benefits for public safety and commercial carriers.  These benefits will include lower costs and economies of scale, as well as the potential for shared resources in the appropriate scenarios," said McGeary.

"L.R. Kimball also believes that even more efficient use of this spectrum could be achieved by allowing other government and mission critical agencies to share use and access of this combined 20 MHz Public Safety block.  If permitted by Congress or the FCC, we envision establishing local shared access and use agreements between Public Safety licensee's and sister departments such as public works, transit and health care.  These shared-use scenarios would allow the creation of a true, converged wireless network potentially supporting all mission critical communications and interoperability needs of communities from small to large," McGeary continued.

McGeary and other L.R. Kimball experts apply their project management expertise to help public safety agencies in communities across the country develop and deploy interoperable radio and wireless communications networks, Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) systems and cyber security solutions.  The firm has worked on more than 700 projects across 38 states and eight statewide radio projects and recently released a white paper about the current effort to reassign the 700MHz public safety broadband spectrum.  To download the white paper, visit www.lrkimball.com/dblock.

About L.R. Kimball

Established in 1953, L.R. Kimball is among the nation's leading professional service companies offering its clients architectural and structural, mechanical and electrical design services, security systems designs, civil, environmental and transportation engineering expertise, communications technology solutions and consulting. L.R. Kimball is part of CDI Engineering Solutions, a division of CDI Corp., a leading provider of engineering and information technology solutions and professional staffing.

Headquartered in Ebensburg, Pa., L.R. Kimball employs approximately 500 people at 10 locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, West Virginia and Virginia.  

SOURCE L.R. Kimball