In an ex parte letter filed on June 21, 2022, the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) has recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designate the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, Inc. (APCO) to be the nationwide frequency coordinator/band manager with responsibility for developing a 4.9 GHz regulatory framework and overseeing an orderly process for licensing with input and support from the other FCC-certified Public Safety frequency advisory committees (FACs). EWA noted that APCO has decades of expertise working with users at all levels of government in developing spectrum strategies for systems of every type and size, and further, it has the spectrum management infrastructure and staff capable of taking on this role.
“We understand that how best to optimize and manage this critical band is a major decision for the FCC. There are a variety of recommended approaches that are not necessarily in alignment. But the solution need not be difficult to identify,” stated EWA President and CEO Robin Cohen. “APCO is a well-respected Public Safety frequency coordinator with significant expertise and resources necessary to fulfill the promise of the 4.9 GHz band. Working in collaboration with the other Public Safety frequency advisory committees, they undoubtedly can develop and implement a regulatory structure that will promote robust utilization of this valuable spectrum.”
EWA also noted that allowing access to 4.9 GHz by compatible users while retaining Public Safety priority and pre-emption rights would serve the FCC’s objectives. Public Safety and other entities that provide critical contributions to the public welfare have a long history of co-existence in multiple spectrum bands. That history will provide a template for the 4.9 GHz band while preserving efficient and interference-free access for Public Safety entities.