The National Broadband (Communications) Plan: Issues for Public Safety
The Federal Communications Commission delivered the National Broadband Plan in March 2010. As part of the plan, the FCC proposed a strategy for implementing a national public safety broadband network that would allow public safety responders anywhere in the nation to send and receive critical voice, video and data to save lives, reduce injuries, and prevent acts of crime and terror. How this strategy is implemented will have a significant impact on criminal justice and other public safety agencies nationwide, both with respect to operational capability and to resources. There are competing views of how this plan should be implemented, each with its pros and cons. This panel illuminates those issues from both sides of the debate.
Marisa Chun: Good morning everybody. How's everybody doing? Good? Okay, I see a thumbs up, so that's a good sign. My name is Marisa Chun and I'm from the Department of Justice where I serve as Deputy Associate Attorney General, and I just wanted to welcome all of you to our panel today on Winning the Future: Nationwide Broadband Communications for Public Safety.
So I'd like to take a show of hands. How many of you here have heard of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network? Raise your hand. Oh wow. So we have a pretty informed audience. We were going to try to explain some of the alphabet soup — acronyms, et cetera — but it seems like we have a pretty knowledgeable crowd here. That's great.
Our goal here today is to discuss with you all what the Obama administration has been doing in terms of its commitment to meeting the 21st century communication needs of our public safety partners. We're talking about law enforcement, firefighters, EMS; secondary responders as well: utility companies, transit operators, the people who need to be able to talk to each other and communicate sometimes on a day-to-day basis but often most critically in times of crisis or emergency. We want to go over a little bit how we got here, what the current administration plan is, and the path forward, both generally and I think from the unique perspectives of each of our four distinguished panelists that we have here today.
So what I'd like to do is to give you a little bit of background about the plan and then we'll be hearing from each of our panelists and hopefully get some time for your questions and answer them at the end. And before I do that, let me just explain and introduce each of our distinguished panelists that we have here today.
So to my immediate left is Anna Gomez, and Anna serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, and Deputy Administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration — that's a mouthful. And we know her in short as the lead for the Department of Commerce and for NTIA on the Administration's public safety broadband initiative. Now, Anna has a very rich background. She worked previously as Vice President of Government Affairs at Sprint Nextel. Prior to her work in private industry, she was for 12 years in various management and leadership positions at the FCC, including serving as Deputy Chief of the International Bureau and Chief of the Network Services Division in the Common Carrier Bureau, which is now known as the Wireless Bureau. Anna also served as the senior legal advisor to FCC Commissioner and Chairman William Kennard. She was Deputy Chief of Staff in the NEC during the Clinton Administration and served as counsel in the U.S. Senate and served in the private sector as well at the law firm of Arnold & Porter. I don't know if many of you know this, but Anna graduated from law school at the age of 12 [laughter] so that kind of explains her lengthy bio.
So to Anna's left we have, we are pleased to have Gregory Schaffer, who is our Acting Deputy Undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security, and he's Acting Deputy Undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Protectorate, and in that capacity he leads DHS's efforts to reduce physical and cyber infrastructure risk. Prior to this recent promotion, he served as Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications working closely with Secretary Janet Napolitano, and in this role Greg has been a really fearless leader for DHS and for the Administration with regards to the public safety broadband communications issue: testifying on the hill, offering a lot of very valuable insights from his work at DHS and his work in the private sector as well. Before joining DHS, Greg was Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer for Alltel Communications. He was also at Price Waterhouse, and prior to that he was also at DOJ as a computer crime prosecutor in CCIPS, which is our Computer Crime and IP Section. So Greg also brings a very rich background to this issue as well.
To Greg's left, we are pleased to have CTO Bill Schrier. Bill just got in last night from the beautiful city of Seattle where he serves as that city's Chief Technology Officer, where he manages nearly 200 full-time employees and a budget of $49 million. Bill currently serves as Chair of the Broadband Committee of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials. Some of you know that as APCO. He's also been serving as the Chair of the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST)'s Operator Advisory Committee, which is comprised of the 20 cities, jurisdictions, and states that have received FCC waivers to construct public safety broadband wireless networks using the 700 megahertz spectrum. Bill is the recipient of numerous awards. My favorite is being named as one of Government Technology's 25 doers, dreamers, and drivers. And so Bill has been a really wonderful and energetic, you-can-do-it type of force within our initiative here.
Bill Schrier: I love the dreaming part, incidentally.
Chun: [Laughter] "The dreaming part." You don't seem to dream a lot though. You're always on the run, always doing. So Bill was just at the White House on Thursday, went back to Seattle to be with his two very cute grandkids, and then came in last night to be able to join all of us for this talk.
And then to my furthermost left is Allan Sadowski. We are very pleased to have Allan to represent the state perspective. Allan is the Information Technology Manager for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. In this role he is responsible for data communications and he supports a number of radio systems including the North Carolina Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responders (VIPER) which is the third largest land mobile radio system in the country with over 53,000 users. He is also a very critical force in the National Institute of Justice's Communications Technology Program. He serves on that group's technology working group and he's able to provide the field perspective as to the research and development that NIJ is doing on behalf of public safety. Mr. Sadowski is also a member of the FCC's Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC), its Technical Advisory Committee. And Allan is also a retired Air Force Major and in his Air Force career, it sounds like that's when he first got involved with innovation in the fields of intelligence and technology, and he's an engineer, to boot, an electrical engineer.
So you can tell that we have a very distinguished panel, and by way of background, the topic that has brought us together today is the President's Public Safety Broadband Communications Initiative. Basically, this has been a longstanding issue of importance to the public safety community dating back to at least the 1990s, and I've told folks sometimes, in the 1990s when I was at the Justice Department, there were only two things that got Attorney General Janet Reno to put her head on the table like this, and one was the issue of immigration and the second was the issue of public safety interoperable communications. And the reason being, in times of crisis, in times when we are faced with a terrorist attack, it is so critical for our public safety partners to be able to communicate across jurisdictions and yet we have found that seemingly intuitive goal to be elusive for a long, long time, and I think we've seen the consequences of that most tragically after 9/11 and after Hurricane Katrina, most recently.
So this president in this administration sees the opportunity, I think, recognize that technology and people and, I think, public sentiment made the time right to try to push forward on public safety broadband communications. And as part of that initiative, he basically, through the White House, brought together the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, and certain White House components to develop a plan for public safety broadband communications. And that plan was basically announced to the public first in the State of the Union address this January, and in more detailed form in February of this year by the president in Michigan.
And that plan has a couple of key components. First: the idea is to provide substantial financial support for the building of a public safety broadband network, in terms of infrastructure, in terms of billions of dollars of federal investment to make this happen. Secondly: a key piece is to dedicate the D-block, which is a piece of spectrum in the 700 megahertz area for use by the public safety community. The third piece is to catalyze innovation through research and development, and there is a fund called the WIN Fund, the Wireless Innovation Fund. I believe the idea is to have about $3 billion from what are called "incentive auction proceeds" that are generated by auctioning off certain swaths of spectrum to generate money both for the building of the network as well as to fuel R&D.
And the idea is that some of this WIN Fund money — 500 million to be exact — will be dedicated towards public safety R&D research, and that may be where some of you may come in because we know that NIJ attracts a lot of criminal justice practitioners and researchers in terms of looking into fields where public safety men and women may be able to benefit from the research that you do today.
And then the final piece of that is a deficit-cutting piece. By way of allocating some 500 megahertz of spectrum to the private sector, the idea is to unleash innovation and to help develop the development of smartphones, wireless broadband, make wireless available to many more Americans and at the same time to use some of those funds to help bring down the deficit. So this is a plan which some people have called good for public safety, good for innovation, and good for tax payers, all in one package.
So with that sort of introduction, let me turn the podium over to my colleague, Acting Deputy Undersecretary Greg Schaffer.
Greg Schaffer: Thank you Marisa. It's a pleasure to be here. Thanks so much for inviting us to speak to NIJ. It is always great to be in front of the community that we're really working for as we go down the road to put this program together. There's been great cooperation among the departments and agencies that have been engaged for some time on this plan and it's been a pleasure to work on this process.
I think that the vision is what I'm really going to talk about and how it's staged out and how we've gotten to where we are today. There's been a recognized problem with respect to the interoperability of our emergency communications for some time, certainly after 9/11 and the recognition that firemen and police officers were not able to readily interact was a wakeup call for the entire community. And since the 9/11 Commission Report we have been desiring to have a fully interoperable, high-tech national network that would connect our first responder communities to one another in all hazards events.
It's not that we haven't made progress with respect to the technologies that we've deployed, but there's a limitation to what can be accomplished with those technologies, and as a consequence, making them fully interoperable has been a challenge. These land mobile radio solutions that are widely deployed and are very operable for voice communications of our first responder communities are and have always been designed for that operability first. And even though we've had a standard like P25 to allow these systems to start to interact with one another, the complexity of using those systems is clear to any operator with a 500-channel radio who has to go into his neighboring jurisdiction and try to figure out how to find what he needs to connect with a group of other professionals on a given day.
We don't want a project to get communications stood up every time that there's a desire to have two agencies interact with one another from the same jurisdiction or many agencies coming together to interact for a large event. And so the challenge has been to find ways to make that efficiently happen. Of course, at the same time we've had a broadband revolution in this country. We have gone from a case where 90 percent of our communications were by voice to a case where, you know — anybody got a 12 year-old? I have one. He uses his cell phone 24 by 7 until I have it shut down by Verizon through parental controls. But he's not talking. He's never talking. He's using data communications and indeed what we have seen over the course of the last several years is that data offers capabilities that may exceed what voice can do in certain circumstances, and I'll talk about that a little more in just a moment.
But this broadband revolution is something that our land mobile radio solutions simply cannot deliver. It doesn't have the capability to push the schematic of a burning building to a fireman as he's walking through the smoke. It doesn't have the capability to allow a law enforcement officer to take a picture of the license plate of the car he's chasing and have all of the data flow immediately back to him about who owns that car and what other crimes he may have been involved in. It doesn't have the ability for emergency medical resources to see the pictures coming from somebody's cell phone after a car accident and know what it is they'll be dealing with in terms of the victims on the scene when they arrive.
And so there's a tremendous opportunity to take this to the next level and that's what this plan is all about. So DHS's role over the last several years has been to try to move the network of land mobile radio solutions that we have in a better direction. We've done that in a variety of ways. The organization that I was the Assistant Secretary for, Cybersecurity and Communications, before I moved into my new role, did that through a variety of means. They did a lot of cybersecurity there. But they also had the National Communications System, which really worked on priority communications for both first responders and leadership within government with the Government Emergency Telecommunications System, the GETS cards that many of us have, for priority communications over wire line as well as the wireless priority service, which does the same thing over wireless networks. That organization. [microphone drops out]
.[beeping noise] I don't know why they have an off button on a power strip. [laughter] But if somebody should kick it, it should be the Former Assistant Secretary of Cybersecurity and Communications.
The Office of Emergency Communications was another organization in my former role that I was the Assistant Secretary of, really had the mantle for working interoperability between federal, state, local, and tribal governments so that on a bad day, all of these systems would be able to work. All of that was done since 2006 when OEC was created through a variety of operations: coordination functions, planning, training, technical assistance for people to figure out how to use those radios in the right way and configure them correctly.
But again, all of that has made things better. We now have a national emergency communications plan in that coordination realm. We have statewide plans. We have statewide coordination interoperability managers in every state in the nation. We've made tremendous progress, and that's seen in the recent events that have occurred, whether it is the recent tornadoes or the Deepwater Horizon events, we've had the ability to have interoperable communications work much better than they have in the past. But again, it's still a 500-channel radio that somebody's having to figure, and it's still a situation where you're not able to push broadband.
So what's the opportunity? The opportunity is that the public safety community and the business community have both adopted the same standard, as well as the FCC, for the next generation of mobile wireless communications, which is called long-term evolution or LTE. That LTE solution, a different configuration than what we've done with land mobile radio, land mobile radio is high tower, high power; LTE is low tower, low power but a lot more of them in a configuration that gives you much more efficient use of spectrum and allows you to push a lot more data and voice and video between the devices and the network on a given day. And all of that capability is available potentially to our first responders under the plan that Marisa talked about that the administration is very, very supportive of.
But because of the complexity of this solution, it's not something that operates in a single jurisdiction and covers a county or a city or a state. This would be a system that would literally be IP-based, would be reachable by any law enforcement or emergency medical resource as they got off of an airplane going to an earthquake site for urban search and rescue — they're coming from another state or another jurisdiction. We want them to be able to get off and have their device work just the way your Blackberry does when you get off the plane when you go on your business travel.
In order to do that, you need a slightly different structure. You need governance that allows you to manage those relationships between jurisdictions and among entities within jurisdictions so that the system can be appropriately configured so that you have local control over the things that localities really care about, but have very highly leveraged and centralized management of those elements that don't need to be in every jurisdiction.
So if you look at the way AT&T or Verizon or Sprint manages their networks, the core elements that they use, maybe they have 5 of them to handle 100 million customers across the entire country. We don't need to have 50 repeated infrastructures like that in every state, or, God forbid, repeat that in every city. What we need to do is have an appropriate number and then leverage that capability while, again, giving logical control, which, with these new systems you can give to the local jurisdiction so they can manage who gets on the network, how the resources are configured between the different entities, and how they respond to individual events.
So what we've seen over the course of the last year was a lot of interaction between our departments and agencies and the community, is a tremendous change in the thinking from the public safety community with a real understanding now of what this technology can deliver and what needs to be done in order to make it actually happen and be well received.
The most recent event, as Marisa mentioned on Thursday of last week, on the 16th, the public safety community as well as many of our senior leaders in government came together at the White House to discuss a proposal being put forward to make this vision a reality. Senator Rockefeller's bill, Senate 9/11, is really an opportunity to move these things forward and it was an extraordinary lineup of senior government officials supporting that proposition, from the Vice President of the United States to the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the Maryland Governor, the New York Police Commissioner, all coming together to support the proposition of getting our state, local, and tribal as well as, potentially, federal resources the ability to truly interoperate in a seamless way nationwide.
So, with that I think I'll turn over the mantle to, I believe, Anna is next and she'll give you a little bit more detail about some of the technical aspects and things that the Commerce Department is doing to bring all of this about. Commerce has been an extraordinary partner as well. Their resources out in Boulder, Colorado and the testing facility, we couldn't have gotten where we are without them.
Anna Gomez: Thank you, Greg. Thank you and good morning to all of you. It's very nice to speak before this illustrious group. It's also very nice to speak to some new folks. So, as Greg and Marisa both mentioned, the Department of Commerce has been working with other Executive Branch agencies, Justice and DHS being the most prominent, to help realize a new state-of-the-art broadband network for public safety which is part of the President's Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative, or WI3 if you like those types of acronyms.
This cutting-edge broadband network will give law enforcers and investigators the communications tools that they will need in the 21st century. The high bandwidth and speed will make available to public safety professionals innovative applications, some of which we have yet to imagine, the way that apps develop today, it could be very exciting to see what happens over the next few years. So, I think it was Greg, it might have been Marisa, I can't remember which one mentioned the idea of having automatic license plate readers, the scars, marks, and tattoos lookups that the FBI is actually putting together an apps for, and maybe some facial recognition databases. In fact, Commissioner Kelly, who last week at the White House was telling us that they have this state-of-the-art facility in New York City which has a lot of these type of applications in it, but they cannot push it out to the individual people out on the streets, and that is what this broadband network can help provide.
So Commerce, under the President's Initiative, is promoting a new network for public safety in a number of ways. First, Commerce provides technical leadership within administration and technical support for public safety communications needs. Second, my agency, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA, is the policy arm of the Executive Branch, and the representative for the Executive Branch on telecommunications policy matters. In that role, we have been coordinating among the federal agencies and the White House on policy issues affecting the public safety broadband network. And we recently submitted comments to Federal Communications Commission on interoperability issues with this public safety broadband deployment, both from a technical as well as a governance perspective.
And finally, NTIA has helped jumpstart the broadband network by providing Recovery Act funds to some early public safety broadband deployments. So in terms of technical leadership, Greg mentioned the Public Safety Communications Research Program, or PSCR Program, in Boulder. How many folks are familiar with the PSCR? Oh good, I won't bore you then — except for you Paul, sorry (laughs).
The PSCR Program in Boulder is one of the Commerce Department jewels, and it's a national resource for objective, technical expertise for public safety communications. DOJ's COPS office and DHS's Office of Interoperability and Compatibility sponsor its work. The PSCR joins the competencies of the National Institute for Standards and Technology and my agency, NTIA, to solve public safety communications' toughest engineering issues. The PSCR plays a key technical role in helping public safety to achieve the nationwide interoperable and operable public safety broadband network.
To understand the role that the PSCR plays, let me give you a bit of history. As Greg mentioned, the public safety and much of the commercial wireless communities largely coalesced around long-term evolution, or LTE, as the common technology platform for public safety next-generation 4G wireless broadband deployment. Now it did this in 2009, so it wasn't that long ago. LTE promises to bring public safety higher data rates, better quality, and more innovative applications, as I discussed earlier. By 2010, the FCC mandated that what we call the "early builders" use the LTE standard. Early builders are those entities that the FCC gave permission to build public safety broadband networks in advance of finalizing its rules, and that's what Marisa mentioned, in the 700 megahertz band.
One of the challenges that the early builders face in establishing interoperability is that neither the FCC nor anyone else has actually implemented rules for the deployment of this LTE network. In other words, while the LTE technology standard defines a universe of capabilities that could be deployed in compliance with the standard, no one has provided the details of what the existing carriers will deploy or what public safety must deploy as it builds out. Carriers typically build out only to a subset of the full technology standard, so although the LTE standard provides a lot of critical detail, many of the specific features that public safety needs like prioritization and quality of service must still be ironed out as a technical matter.
And now that the standard's been chosen, equipment and networks must still be tested to be sure that they meet the standards as well as public safety's critical needs. So in March of 2010, the PSCR launched a demonstration network to grapple with these concerns. The PSCR is building a 700 megahertz public safety broadband demonstration network to provide manufacturers and first responders a location for early deployment of their systems in a multivendor, neutral host environment. The PSER pilot will help ensure that the LTE deployments for public safety will do what public safety needs the network to do, and the PSCR is testing to see that equipment and infrastructure actually meets the established standards.
One of the key points to bear in mind, and the underlying reason for the great work going on in Boulder, is that today's public safety communications systems can be outdated compared with more modern networks and commercial devices, and they're fragmented across thousands of public safety jurisdictions and many spectrum bands.
DHS alone spends over $1 billion a year to improve local and state public safety communications interoperability. These costs the government and the expenses incurred by state and local agencies could be reduced substantially through the economies of scale gained by transitioning to this nationwide interoperable network. If you look at the cost differences between traditional devices used by public safety and commercially available devices, you can see it's quite stark. The latest radios developed for public safety, the multiband radios, are estimated to cost somewhere between $4,000 and $11,000. Whereas, if you look at an unsubsidized, commercially-available 4G smartphone, that one costs about $600.
So a linchpin of the President's Initiative is to develop the necessary technology based on the LTE standard to meet the mission critical requirements of public safety, but also to enable them to leverage the economies of scale that commercially available handsets might provide, and also the economies of scale that the 54,000 jurisdictions in the United States can provide. So this is another important focus of the PSCR, and that is the standards setting.
And the administration gained tremendous insight and perspective from the PSCR's research as well as from the experiences that the early builders have had to date. So last week, as I mentioned before, NTIA filed comments with the FCC providing the administration's vision for a nationwide operable and interoperable public safety broadband network. Learning from the lessons of the past as well as the achievements of the commercial cellular model, the administration believes that to have a truly interoperable nationwide public safety broadband network, there must be an overarching network architecture. This is what Greg was talking about when he talked about the need for governance to provide centralized coordination to ensure that the rollout is truly nationwide.
So the administration, as well as senators Rockefeller and Hutchison and S.911 has proposed that Congress should create the Public Safety Broadband Corporation, which would be a nonprofit, Congressionally-chartered corporation to oversee the building and the operation of this nationwide network. Of course, it's important that the corporation consult and coordinate with relevant public safety officials in state, local, and tribal jurisdictions as well as with federal entities as it builds and runs this network.
In addition, the corporations, to make this as cost-effective as possible, should leverage infrastructure, both commercial and public safety as well, to the greatest extent possible. Having this nationwide network makes it more efficient, cost-effective, and it provides fewer points of failure in terms of interoperability and operability. And this nationwide architecture also erases a lot of the technical issues that may arise from having multiple networks having to communicate with one another.
The administration believes that with the proper technical and governance rules, network deployment can develop according to what we call a modular approach, making the most effective use of the funding that the President as well as Senators Rockefeller and Hutchison have budgeted for public safety buildout.
This modular approach capitalizes on the characteristics of LTE technology. The backbone of the LTE network is what we call the evolved packet core, or EPC, which I think Bill described last week as a giant switch. The EPC handles the overall control functions. The building of a distributed EPC provides a long-term investment and continually upgradable platform for the next generation system of public safety communications.
Now the radio access network, or the RAN, is the portion of the network that would connect the EPC with end-user devices. Each segment of the RAN can plug in as funding and necessary resources become available. So it's likely — actually it's pretty much set in stone — that the early builders would be the first to plug into the core network services like authentication and mobility management at the EPC level. So ultimately, this approach will allow the early builders to develop their sections of the RAN that meet local public safety mission operability and interoperability requirements while sharing a platform that ensures this nationwide interoperability.
Which brings me to the grants that NTIA has awarded under our Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, or BTOP. So I mentioned BTOP was a Recovery Act program — or is a Recovery Act program — to build out infrastructure to unserved and underserved communities as well as to build computer centers and provide sustainable adoption projects.
Almost a year ago, in September of 2010, NTIA awarded over $380 million in BTOP grants to seven entities in Charlotte; New Mexico; the San Francisco Bay area; Mississippi; Adams County, Colorado; New Jersey; and LA. These early builders are not only benefiting their communities through their commitments to cutting-edge public safety communications, but they're also serving as pilots that will help identify and iron out the technical kinks prior to any full-scale nationwide buildout.
The seven public safety BTOP grantees represent a variety of regions, demographics, and geographies. They range from a geographic area covering every public safety agency in the largely rural state of Mississippi to coverage of over 10 million people in LA County with its 34,000 first responders and 80 public safety agencies. The PSCR works with these BTOP grantees and other early builders to help make the experiences of the broadband pilots into real world best practices.
And it's a two-way street. The early builders share their current issues and successes with our engineers, and the PSCR provides direct feedback to and from the waiver recipients via working group meetings and semiannual meetings with many of our federal partners. So as test results become available, the PSCR will publish the results of the test as well as the lessons that we're learning.
So in conclusion, the advent of the LTE standard and the swelling demand for broadband provide this opportunity to get it right for the community. The administration, most of the public safety community, many commercial players, and a bipartisan set of supporters on the Hill all think this means we need a nationwide architecture overseen by a competent not-for-profit corporation. We have committed the technical and the policy expertise to further this vision and to understand and incorporate the needs and the views of public safety experts and professionals, many like those at the conference today.
So I look forward to hearing my colleagues' comments as well as to answering questions, and I thank you very much for your attention. And next, I believe, it's Bill Schrier.
Chun: Thanks —
Gomez: No! Am I right? Or is it Allan?
Chun: .Allan, do you want to go next?
Gomez: (laughs) Sorry!
Chun: And actually, thank you very much, Anna. You know, one thing which I wanted to amplify on some of the comment that Anna made. First is just a huge shout-out for NTIA's leadership role and what they've been doing at PSCR. For those of us — and I think maybe all of us have been to Boulder, but it is really fascinating to see this lab and, basically, scientific center dedicated to public safety's needs.
How many people here are from the research or academic parts of the world? Can you raise your hands? Oh, not very many. And how many people do we have here from the criminal justice public safety community. Can you raise your hands?
Well, I think PSCR is kind of a unique place where the two mesh and meet and interact. And we saw things like firefighters' body suits, essentially, where they do experiments to see what sort of communication needs will meet firefighters when they're fighting a three-alarm blaze and they have all sorts of noise in the background, et cetera. And just real-life, practical needs of our public safety partners in the field. Those are what's first and foremost on the part of PSCR, so that I think is really commendable and we thank Anna for her leadership with regards to PSCR.
I guess the second piece, which I think Anna mentioned, which I think is something to keep in mind is, and I think Greg has alluded to this as well is, all of the developments in the commercial sector marrying with public safety's mission critical needs and requirements is kind of what we're aiming at here and so what is really exciting is that on the one hand, the commercial sector like Verizon, or AT&T, et cetera, have all these wonderful technological developments, which sometimes are really driven by a business case model in terms of where are the clients, what's going to be profitable, who's going to pay for this, which sometimes means rural areas like certain parts of North Carolina may not get the access to broadband communications that they so desperately need. And I think with this particular initiative on the part of the administration, there is a recognition that public safety's needs need to be first and foremost and that the federal government may need to fill in that gap by investing some money and to help fuel the research and development that will help marry the commercial innovations with public safety's mission critical needs. And so that's a point that both you and Greg alluded to, which is another exciting, dynamic piece of this particular project.
So anyways, without further ado we have Allan Sadowski from the state of North Carolina to share the state's perspective about how public safety broadband communications will help and what difference it'll make in your lives.
Allan Sadowski: First I'd like to say thank you to all of you all, but also to two of our speakers in particular because funds from the federal government from both NTIA and DHS have made a huge impact to public safety in North Carolina, and so it's a real honor to be here with you all and thank you.
I have to do a disclosure. For me to be here, I have to go through a legal process. The bottom line, is this absolves my boss and his boss and his boss so if there's anything here that you have issue with [laughter] blame me, and if you like it, attribute it to my boss or to our panel members, because they made it possible.
Okay, a little bit of background, so, for some of you. What the heck is this about? Don't want to make any assumptions. Warrants, a lot of you think cops give warrants in their car. Nah, they go back to the courthouse. They have to go through a process. So to be able to get it out there in the fields. Driver's license pictures, hey, there's a bank robbery, to be able to pull up and to be able see what's going on inside the bank when they pull up, not have to wander. Better stations because they're going to get more and better information and there's a little bit of working together which is sometimes a little bit tough for some public safety entities — "this is my little area, this is my town, this is my community."
But I think everybody's seen with what's been happening over the past 10 years that we do have to work together better, and we do, rather dramatically. And as pointed out, North Carolina's voice interoperability program for emergency responders, 53,000 first responders can talk together. I brought a radio, it looks something like that, way too expensive. This is one of those $3,000 radios. Sitting over there I've got a $100 radio made in China that I can go all over this country and talk. Can't do it with this.
Mr. Schrier and I, we have two, same vendor, probably same band, and we both happened to bring it, and I can't tell you, it's probably a couple hour project for us to be able to talk to each other. So there's a real issue, yet every one of us has a cell phone, and which if I have the number I can talk to. You could give me your website, your Facebook. I can talk to you.
So that's the issue. Voice is critical. Spur of the moment, I don't want my head down punching away at keyboards. I have a real concern for my officers. Officer safety, I don't want his head down or her head down or their head down looking at a screen when somebody's walking up to them, sneaking up on them. I don't want it to be a crisis situation, and we're doing like a 12 year-old — no. We owe them better. But broadband is going to help. I don't want to give you a mistaken impression there.
Okay. Public safety. IT and broadband is not the mission of public safety. I'm sitting up here as an IT manager, I heard groans when I heard "Hey, an engineer; Al's an engineer." I heard somebody go, "Uhn." out there. Well, I'm used to that after 30 years of being an engineer. IT and broadband is not the mission. Serving our citizens, our families, our community, businesses, protecting property. Thank you, for those of you who are sworn or firemen or EMS, thank you for what you do. I wore a uniform for 20 years, and it's a different world for you guys and gals than it is for mine.
Something that I hammer on over and over and over. I'm not worried. I have a statewide commitment, the cities, they're going to be connected. The suburbs, they're going to be connected. The interstates, they're going to have connectivity. Rural, tribal, wilderness, maritime, park areas, we got some huge parks in this country. We've got some huge rural areas and tribal areas, and their coverage — I'm real worried. I'm real worried. But I have hope. But that's something that I won't let that be forgotten.
And even without all this IT, public safety, first responders are going to do their job. That gives me a lot of confidence because I know it doesn't matter if they're going to get broadband or not. They're going to do the job, and thank you. But we can help them do their job a whole lot better.
So, I hammer on coverage. It's got to be affordable. I know agencies whose officers pay out of their own pockets for their connectivity today. They don't get paid that much, and they're paying out of their own pocket so that they have connectivity.
Reliability, I don't have to beat that one; it needs to be reliable.
Now, what is mission critical? That's interesting. You can ask 50 first responders, and you get 50 answers.
Spectrally efficient. I used to hear the term, "Hey. We need more spectrum. We need more spectrum. We need more spectrum." Building out a system with 53,000 first responders on 3 megahertz of spectrum says there's new game in town; there's new ways of doing spectrum management and I like what I've heard on the federal side along those lines, and I think we can do better. We don't need to have 53,000 systems; we just have to have systems that do their job really well.
I'm an engineer; okay, it comes out. Back all the bandwidth: it's not sexy, but is it critical? I particularly, I got down on my knees when I met Ms. Gomez a little while ago and said thank you. North Carolina was able to build out almost 17,000 miles of fiber, which every one of these broadband tower sites is going to need fiber. There's so much bandwidth, to do all this video and audio, and hitting all these network sites, using all those internet apps you're going to have to have real big pipes to all these tower sites.
So, infrastructure, if it's not there, you can build all the towers in the world and have all the apps in the world, but that backhaul has got to be there. It's got to be reliable. We've got to have Bubba in the backhoe. A Bubba in the backhoe decides to use his fiber-finding equipment in the backhoe to dig out fiber, that's a part of what we need to make sure the systems still work.
Okay, scalable. I'll use North Carolina coast. In the wintertime, not many people there. It's not a fun place. Come summertime, those areas' population goes up by a factor of 10 on certain times of the year. The police department, the fire department, the EMS, doesn't scope by a factor of 10. So we've got our communications systems if something bad happens does need to scope, does need to scale, so that when the other agencies come in and we cry "help," they have the bandwidth to do their job to help us.
Standard space, I'm tired of the secret sauce. I'm tired of "Well, I've got this feature but you've got to buy my device." That's hurting public safety. And I'll tell you, you say the types of devices. Yeah we all have these little iPhones or Androids or cell phones. But out in rural areas — maybe because we all drive vehicles out there? — we can have a bigger device, we can have better antennas, and I'm going to talk to that in a minute. Power's not an issue. Battery life is not an issue.
The security. One of my hats I wear is a security person. It's a three-legged stool. And if one of the legs is undersized or broken, security doesn't work very well. It needs to precede deployment. Security is critical. We don't pay enough attention to security. I wish I had a penny for every, "Hey, check this out." "Oh. Where'd you get it from?" "Well, I just downloaded it."
Well, let me tell you what. Not where I work. We make sure people can't do it. Why? Because our burden to go back, reimage computers, spam bots, I mean, it was just — no.
So security is really important. I won't beat that to death, but the first question is, what is the threat? And work from there.
Most agencies are 10, 15 personnel. That's sworn personnel. How big of an IT staff do you think they have? It's usually one of the officers or one of the firemen. So how many have critical staff? And is the internet model 100 percent appropriate? I don't know, but I'd like for it to be. The internet's done a lot of things. It's kept me in business.
[Inaudible] we needed, but agencies are struggling, and if you don't know what rebanding is, you don't want to know. If you don't know what narrow banding is, you really don't want to know. [Laughter.] And the incomplete B25 standard drives me to drink.
So, to make a long story short, what is B25 versus LTE? Bottom line, B25 is a 20 year-old woefully inadequate standard. It's North American only, so the economies of scale are questionable and it pre-dates the internet.
LTE is the international standard with a data focus, and just like your kids go out there and use Skype and other VoIP programs, LTE can do VoIP as well.
Okay. Beat the horn again.
Operational public safety personnel aren't in offices so broadband to offices, that ain't where it's happening. It's out there in the field. And we need to be able to use any connectivity that's available.
I'm treading on thin ice, I know, but D block is not the only answer. An existing spectrum is not the only answer. There's commercial connectivity that we can today use, and we will use until something gets built out when it gets built out. White space is coming along at the speed of heat and I'm looking forward to it because I think I'm going to be able to support some of our people that way and the communities they serve.
And then there's other things out there, especially out west, in maritime areas, satellite, some data casting, and hey, the wifi's there and we can make it secure. Why not?
Okay. Here's I alluded to this a minute ago. It's not just handhelds; it's also vehicular-mounted and those rural, tribal, wilderness, maritime, park responders. They have vehicles. It may be an ATV, it may be a bus, it may be a big truck. So I don't have to worry about, I've got to fit everything into something this big, you know, iPhone-size. I can use better antennas. I have more power out there in fringe areas, and there's some sexy stuff to me as an engineer. Okay, I'm weird. Directionality, I can start doing. Why do I have to radiate that energy everywhere? Why can't I focus it in the direction where it will be the most useful?
Hey. If I've got an interferer, why can't null that? Why can't I say "I don't want to hear from that particular radio?" And obviously there's the game. Oh, by the way — and I didn't manage to put them up there — those same techniques aren't just good for rural, tribal, wilderness, maritime, and park. They actually help in the city. Because in-building coverage, being able to get that signal inside a building. We need it and these same techniques can do that.
Okay, so. A little bit on the NIJ side. What my work with them, and I've been very thankful for the opportunity that NIJ has given me to be able to help the people I support. NIJ supports the criminal justice practitioners, as obviously requirements, gathering solutions, evaluations, education outreach, and I'm going to hit on three in particular.
So, technology working group. Bottom line is networking. Different-sized agencies geographically dispersed, different functional focuses, sworn people and non-sworn. I have another member here in the room with me and the portfolio manager as well. So, but one of the things I've learned is the adoption of new technology is a tough one sometimes, but as I point out, at one point radios, computers, fingerprints, DNA, were all new, so it can happen. And the TWG members help NIJ focus on opportunities.
Three in particular that are exciting that I'll talk about a bit more, software-defined radios, adaptive antennas, and network bonding.
So, software-defined radios. Bottom line is, you have an iPhone or an Android today, you got a software-defined radio. You got multiband. You don't care. It can roam. That's all you care about. You don't have to go in and program yourself, that's a great thing. Guess what? I take that radio and I want to go someplace else. If I was to help them, I'd have to take to somebody who's smart about programming it and they would have to do all kinds of machinations to program it, and when I came back home, I'd have to do it again. I don't have to do that when I come up to Washington, DC with a cell phone.
Schaffer: Whereas, sitting here, I pulled up the Arlington County Police Department on my iPhone.
Sadowski: So that's an excellent — there's web pages where you can actually monitor most agencies in the country. But you can't do it with your own radio. You have to carry it around. But it's 20-year-old technology. Things move forward. Okay.
But bottom line of SDR is to program — not just a low level but a lot of the background processing and I won't go into detail.
Adaptive antennas. I said about that — directional, different bands, nulling, really good at the edge, really good for in-building coverage.
And network bonding, something I'm really excited about that NIJ's working towards says that, hey, we've got D block, and we've got the existing, we've got commercial carriers, and we got wifi, we got whatever it is — white space — that we can transparently use anything anywhere — anything that's available, wherever it's available — and connect back.
So our responders, they have this in this location or they need extra, they can do it. I'm really highly — I just can't say enough about the channel bonding. I think it's something that the commercial people will be picking up, personally, and then the opportunity to evaluate technology from vendors. I was reading this morning, DHS is going to test radios in New Orleans, and they tested in Phoenix.
And not to cast stones or whatnot but, was it a "Here, check this out!" or was it formal test process? Cause I'd like to get a hold of some formal tests. I want to know, hey, not that it's, "I trust you," or "Hey, buddy check this out." I want to have the metrics. I want it to be pertinent, measurable, and repeatable, so I can compare. I can make comparisons. I don't want it to be anecdotal.
And NIJ is helping us to do some of this. Really gets me excited because I will be able to prepare and show a vendor, "Uh-uh. It's not what you say it is." An example of some of the environments: If you're in a fire truck, if you're in police vehicle there's a lot of radios. And those strobes? Guess what? That's electromagnetic noise, interference. You wouldn't believe. It has an issue with the radios. If you've got a lot of radios and you're trying to talk on the same time, they do interact. We need to test those kinds of things and see what the impact is.
We need to know that the apps in broadband work. Not that it works on this box, on this network. It just needs to work.
And I talked to the programming a minute ago. I did a study, a small one, wastes several million dollars a year with one system taking radios back to be reprogrammed a couple times a year. It's wasted time for the firemen and the officers being away from their patrol areas, or their firehouses, the equipment's out of service, it's ridiculous. You don't have to take your iPhone or your Android back to your cellular carrier store for them to reprogram it — it does it over the air. Over-the-air programming is something that the broadband devices will do but that the current systems don't.
Okay. In that evaluation process, bottom line, I look at it as NIJ has no dog in a fight, there's no favorites, and they bring value added to the table to include experts. Thank you again. During this 90-minute panel, that will have been almost a hundred thousand 911 calls across the country, and so there's a whole lot of first responders that are doing really good work in our communities for our families. That's not something I pulled out; that's a NENA statistic.
Secure wireless broadband will greatly assist public safety in responding to those 911 calls. Better quality decisions, faster response, success that's predicated not just on connectivity, the applications that I've mentioned, we'll have more effective data exchange, and the result will be better response. And we're holding off the questions. And I guess Bill, you're on. Thank you.
Schrier: Oh my gosh. That's kind of amazing — the Chief Technology Officer can actually run a PC. [Laughter.] Okay everybody, look up. Smile. It's a BlackBerry Playbook, that's right. It will come into my presentation in just a moment.
Okay. Again, thank you so much to the panel. Thank you Marisa for chairing this and the NIJ for hosting it today. I think Greg gave a great background as to what the federal government has done and what the need is. Anna talked about all the great stuff that NTIA and the Public Safety Communications Research Program is doing, plus NBIA gave grants, actually, in seven jurisdictions to actually build this network. And then Allan talked very eloquently about what the need is, what the need is for local jurisdictions for police officers, fire fighters, and EMTs.
I'm a former cop; I was a street police officer for 4 years back in the 1970s, a long time ago. I had no idea that the Department of Justice or folks like NIJ — NIJ didn't exist in the 1970s — NIJ did so much work on our behalf in the background.
So what's actually going on with those jurisdictions that are building these broadband networks? That's the thrust of this discussion today. So, I'm briefly going to say what's happening in the field, talk a little bit about one jurisdictions model, that's the city of Seattle, and then some additional thoughts that includes a research agenda kind of building on what Allan was saying for NIJ.
So Anna talked a little bit about what the network really is, and this is what an LTE network somewhat looks like. There's an evolved packet core which is the central switch or brains, as Greg mentioned, in the commercial networks there might be 10 of those across the country or fewer. We're going to have at least eight of them within the next two years for public safety.
Oftentimes there are local data centers in localities. Like in AT&T's case, AT&T, I don't know where their evolved packet core is, we all have a local data center in the Seattle area that connects to these eNodeB's which are actually the cell sites where they are connecting which actually form the network. And this shows up here, there actually could be evolved packet cores throughout the country.
So this is just a map obviously of the waiver and BTOP-receiving jurisdictions. So these balloons or bubbles are the 21 jurisdictions who requested waivers. There are actually 21 jurisdictions got waivers from the FCC. And what a waiver is — there's one license in a 700 megahertz spectrum nationwide for the network the DSST has. These jurisdictions have waivers from that national license — they actually build the network — the FCC granted them waivers.
There were 21. Alabama dropped out, so that left 20 waivered jurisdictions, and then just recently the FCC granted a waiver to Texas to build. So those are the 21 waivered jurisdictions. The ones in red are the ones that NTIA — Anna talked about the BTOP, about that technology — NTIA gave grants to these seven jurisdictions to build the network with BTOP funds.
Seattle didn't get a grant, thank you very much! (laughs) But I still get a chance to actually talk about this, and as Marisa mentioned, I actually chair the group of 21 jurisdictions that are trying to move forward with this. There are a few jurisdictions around the country, as shown by the green, that are actually doing things on their own without BTOP grants. Mesa, Arizona, for example, is replacing an existing data network, and they actually have an RFP that they've evaluated.
Harris County, Houston, Texas, is actually building a network for the state of Texas using funds from various sources. And then finally, there are at least 45 jurisdictions around the nation, the ones with stars, who have actually asked for a waiver to build networks that have not been granted. So the original waivers were granted in May of 2010. These other 45 jurisdictions also have the need and want to build, but have not gotten a waiver from the FCC to do so.
So here's the status of the CTOP grantees, those that have received funds from NTIA. Adams County, Denver Airport has a $12 million grant. They actually have a contract, a parent successful vendor, Raytheon, who's a successful vendor for Adams county, and they're just completing their contract negotiations. Now I show Denver Airport here, but actually it's kind of interesting. Denver Airport is dropped out of that mix because FAA regulations conflict with the BTOP rules established by the grant.
I don't know exactly what the conflict is, but Adam's County surrounds the Denver Airport, and they're still going to go ahead with their network.
The Bay Area is kind of unique — this is the San Francisco Bay Area. Motorola actually got the BTOP grant for the Bay Area and is building the network in conjunction with jurisdictions in Santa Clara, San Francisco, El Nino County, and the City of Oakland. And they actually have a demonstration network up, a four or five site network with an evolved packet core, and they're actually passing traffic on that network.
Charlotte got a $16 million BTOP grant. They have just finished, they have their RFP responses and they're evaluating them right now. Allan talked about that. Chuck Robinson in Charlotte is actually leading that effort. LA RICS, RICS is Regional Interoperable Communications System — gosh we love acronyms, don't we? — $150 million BTOP grant. They have got responses to their RFP and they're getting close to — I think they're actually negotiating with the vendor but I'm not at liberty to say who that vendor is. They may not have revealed it.
Mississippi is a $70 million BTOP grant, that's to piggyback on top of their LMR network that they're building. New Mexico and New Jersey are developing RFPs but have not yet issued them.
So that's what's going on in the BTOP grants, and I know that Charlotte, well, just — I'll wait till the next slide.
Here's what some of the other jurisdictions are doing, the ones that don't have grants. The one I wanted to mention here was the state of Texas. They've got a statewide waiver and statewide coordination in progress. Harris County actually started this — the Houston area — Harris County actually will have a site up by the end of summer, a five-site network with an evolved packet core. They're doing this in conjunction with Texas A&M University, so part of the core will be in Harris County, part will be in College Station, which is where Texas A&M is at. And they're using a variety of funds.
Here in Seattle we're looking at the potential for public-private partnership, working with the nation's chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra. Boston has some funding at the end and I mentioned that Mesa, Arizona actually has an RFP and a contract, but they're actually waiting for final rules from the FCC before building.
So this would be Seattle's plan. This map shows a fiber network. Allan mentioned how fiber is really important? Seattle has more than 500 miles of fiber in our 104-mile area that connect every elementary school, every junior high school, every college, university, and major public building. Our thought would be that we would take 35 to 50 LTE sites, pop them up in various locations, like in fire stations or Seattle Housing Authority buildings, since Housing Authority buildings are the right height, and that way build our network. It is a $24 million proposal. And there would also be some side benefits. For example in the Seattle Housing Authority, the public housing, we'd used the fiber to actually bring internet to the Seattle Housing Authority sites as well on separate channels from the public safety network.
Next we would intend to expand this network from Seattle to a four-county region in western Washington. This is Puget Sound right here, Canada is up to the north. So right there is Seattle and King County and we've actually asked the FCC for a waiver for these four counties as opposed to just Seattle, and we actually have a regional policy group with elected officials and senior officials that are working to try and figure out a way to fund this network. We're also working with the state of Washington, so we would hope that eventually the network could be expanded statewide.
There's also an expansion of use. Today the FCC, under section 337 of the federal code, can only allow public safety use — police, fire, emergency medical systems. However, everybody in this room knows that second responders, or critical infrastructure, is also important.
When there's a power outage, you've got lines down, you send cops and firefighters up to those lines and stand by waiting for the electric company to show up. The electric company, water utilities, need to be on this network. It's hard to fight fire without water. Transportation is important. You've got a hurricane in Texas, for example, in Louisiana, the Gulf Coast, and you've got to evacuate a ton of folks. The transportation departments are vitally important to keep those transportation lines open and properly direct us. And then, of course, public works.
Even general government is important — people like this guy right here. Probably had to be carrying an LTE device. It's because after an earthquake that Seattle could have, what has to happen? There are dozens or hundreds of buildings and structures which need to be inspected. Your building inspectors should be out there inspecting those structures.
So I would hope in the Rockefeller Bill in Congress that several of our speakers have mentioned actually would allow a wider use of the network beyond public safety.
And then of course there's an expansion of technology, which we talked about. Data, computers, and laptops — LTE only works for those today, but it ought to be usable for cellular voice next year on commercial networks and, and this is really the research agenda, it might be useful for dispatch and public safety dispatch eventually, where one device, say at a 911 center, could broadcast to dozens or hundreds in the field. Or where two devices could talk to each other without needing to use an intervening cell tower.
But that is still things that PSCR in Boulder and commercial vendors need to help with the research to develop those capabilities.
There is a little tension between the local view and the nationwide view. Greg Schaffer talked about how a nationwide network might be built if the Rockefeller Bill passes and the funding becomes available. I can never get the number right. Aneesh talks about $7 billion, but the bill actually calls for $12 billion. Is it 12?
Chun: Well it's 7 billion dedicated to public safety. Under the administration proposal, 5 billion would go towards rural deployment that would provide priority to public safety. Under the Rockefeller/Hutchison Bill, it's $12 billion for public safety.
Schrier: It's 12 billion? Okay. You could create the network from the top down. You could have a national corporation — the Rockefeller Bill has a national corporation — that actually vets contracts and builds networks from the top down in consultation with local jurisdictions and maybe using local cell sites. Or you could have a situation where there's a different model, like under the BTOP grants, where individual jurisdictions like Seattle or New York City that want to build on their own and have the capability to build on their own build it on their own and then the national corporation links those together. Or there could be other models most appropriate for the local jurisdictions. But there is a little bit of friendly disagreement as to which model might be best or if multiple models might be best.
Management and control. Allan talked about 911 calls, a hundred thousand 911 calls since we started. Well when you call 911, what do you get? The FBI doesn't respond. No. The Department of Defense doesn't respond. In fact, I understand the Department of Defense's plan for an alien invasion in case we're attacked from outer space is to call 911. [Laughter]
But when you call 911 obviously you get local responders. So there has to be some local management control of this network. When there's an incident that occurs, it might occur within the footprint of a single cell site. You might have dozens or hundreds of responders and apparatus within the footprint of one or two cell sites. Somebody's got to be able to adjust the priorities, say, "Hey, this is a fire. Firefighters need the priority and the water department needs the priority. Not so much law enforcement." Or, "Hey, this is a SWAT team action, the law enforcement needs priority in this particular instance."
And of course, interoperability starts with local operability, as we've all talked about. Local operability, local interoperability between cities in a region and eventually national interoperability. And finally there's the funding. Capital expense and the operating expense. How are we going to fund this thing? It's great that the administration has proposed $12 billion — the administration has proposed and the Rockefeller Bill takes $12 billion to build it.
But we local jurisdictions have to step up too. We've got to have our own funding. We've got to have our own sites. It has to be a combination of this, and then longer-term, we need to have the funds to operate the network. And again, we have electric utilities and water utilities. They do bring extra rate raises to actually build this up.
The research agenda. We're not looking for six tubes. That's six vacuum tubes — everybody here is too young to remember what a vacuum tube is, right? Hopefully we use transistors these days. Here's what I would suggest as a research agenda for PSCR and NIJ to move this forward. Shared services, virtual control. Greg alluded to this where there's one evolved back packet core that might be in Denver but Seattle is sharing that Denver evolved packet core but I have virtual control; I can still twist the knobs so I can increase or decrease the priority for my first responders on a particular cell site.
Absent innovation. That was the reason I brought this little device up here, which somebody recognized as a Playbook, and I might as well show you what I'm doing here. So that was kind of the photograph I took of the crew, but so here's a photograph of a scofflaw. [Laughter] This is a photograph I took of myself here at the table. Think of what it means if I all of a sudden on the screen pass out. Somebody calls 911. EMT shows up.
But who am I? Hopefully I've got something about my medical condition in my wallet or on a bracelet. But maybe I don't. If an EMT could take a photograph of me, ship it off to the FBI's database in the sky and then it happens to have my photo in it, have it recognize that it's Bill Schrier. Then, because the EMT might be authorized to do this, go off to a health care database — realizing that there are different restrictions — find out Bill Schrier's allergic to penicillin, or gee, Bill Schrier had a heart attack last month and here's the cocktail of drugs he's presently taking. And if that could all occur within a few seconds through a high speed network it could materially help that EMT on the ground render aid.
Obviously you can think of the law enforcement applications as well. You can think that a cop in the field who faces a crowd, just a crowd of people, if that cop's able to take a photograph of that crowd and all of a sudden have little bubbles pop up among the folks who have wants and warrants for example, or who might be [unclear]. Think of the power that that renders the police officers in the field as an application.
Audience Member: What about abuse of technology? Because you're really going national. There's security issues. There's invasion of privacy. We're very pro-police but not every police officer is a really good guy and if you're going really national, there's some really significant stuff.
Schrier: You're absolutely right. And one of the applications being developed by the FBI is a fingerprint application where you actually take your fingerprint and touch that sensitive screen, push the fingerprint on, and send it on and try to identify someone in the field. Now, as a matter of fact my understanding is that the fingerprint database of scofflaws the FBI has only has 250,000 fingerprints in it. In other words, every teacher gets fingerprinted. Every teacher in the United States probably gets fingerprinted, or at least in many states. Those things are not in the FBI's database because that information's not shared with the FBI. Should it be shared with the FBI? That's why we have elected officials — to make those decisions. That's why we have laws — to help quell digital abuse.
But you're absolutely right in terms of taking photographs and video. Technically, you could link this thing to Facebook or Picasa, and any person who's identified on Facebook or Picasa could come up here. Hopefully we'll have privacy laws to prevent that sort of thing.
But, and then I talked about these sorts of things, explosion of apps — these are other things that have to do with the research agenda. And I do want to emphasize, we should be using IT techniques — open source and app stores. Just like you can go to an app store and download one of 200,000 Android apps. Public safety and government should have app stores as well where applications that are built by firefighters or electrical line workers or commercial companies could be put up and pulled down.
That's it for me. There's some additional information here, and I presume this is going to be posted to the website. That includes a few things like the four-letter acronyms that we've been using and my personal information and contact information as well. But that's what's going in the waivered jurisdictions. That's what I think the research agenda should be. Again, thank you for your attention. Marisa, I'll turn it over to you.
Chun: Thank you, Bill. I like that blog name: chiefseattlegeek.com. So anyways, we're almost out of time but I did want to make sure that we got any questions that might be out there. Maybe we have time for a few. The gentleman in the back, for our panelists?
Audience Member: I apologize. I missed the first couple of minutes. This really applies to NIJ for policy and governance. Everything being done right now about D block and LTE technology is based on the technology. Will you be able to address or come up with policy to help better share data between different legacy systems that are out there?
Right now, if I point to four different people and they represented an agency, there's four different records management systems that critical information, I need to know. If I stop this gentleman or talk to this lady on the street, that if I don't have access to impact my safety as well as the public I serve. Right now there's no standard that requires that. Will you come out with some kind of policy direction to support or push people towards that?
As it stands right now, if I want to integrate those things, it's going to cost me a lot of time and a lot of money. We're going to have this great pipeline but there's going to be not a whole lot of tools that are going to talk to each other to fill it.
Chun: Greg, Anna, do either one of you want to take a shot at that?
Schaffer: Well let me address that and the question about privacy and civil liberties as well because I think this is critically important to the whole process and proposal.
Number one, this proposal is really about getting better capability into the hands of our first responders and a lot of the questions around whether the data from different data sets or databases can be integrated and shared, or what protections will be put in place, those are issues and questions that we have today whether we have a broadband capability in the hands of first responders or not. You can take a picture today and everybody's got internet access and you can go and try to hit various databases and get information. You can have questions around, should we get these databases combined and accessible by a broader array of folk, whether you have this broadband capability.
So A) I think we have to work those issues. We are working those issues extensively. Civil rights and civil liberties has been critical to everything. I know that DHS and I know DOJ is very concerned about those issues as well. It is a focus for us in policy-making across the board including with respect to this initiative and making sure that the right policies and procedures and processes are in place to protect the American public is a big part of what we're trying to do.
I do think that there are a variety of ways in which the new capabilities that are brought to the table by this technology will spur a lot of interest and activity in order to be able to leverage that capability and that I think is where you will see proposals to do all sorts of new, innovative things. And we all recognize that before we had the smartphones, no one had apps. It just didn't exist. It wasn't something out there.
Public safety doesn't have that today. We expect that when public safety does have access to that type of technology, there will be something akin to an app store for public safety. And the need to be able to hit disparate databases and pull down data will be something that will drive innovation and come up with new proposals. But all of that will be reviewed and thought about in the context of maintaining civil rights and civil liberties.
Chun: Great, thanks. The gentleman in the back?
Audience Member: For Greg and Anna: There is certainly a very compelling reason in terms of scale of the economy and our economies of scale and nationwide interoperability in the Rockefeller Bill as well as from OSTP that you alluded to earlier. The White House and the Executive Branch is ardently for a single nationwide broadband network for public safety. What is it going to take or why, do you know, the FCC, seems to give pushback and doesn't have the same perspective, and favors, or it certainly has given an indication that they favor local development across the 57,000 agencies in the United States.
Gonzalez: So, we were just whispering, sorry, that the FCC actually was at the White House event last week — Chairman of the FCC, Julius Janikowski.
You know, I can't speak for the FCC, but the FCC has proposed or asked questions about in its NPRM — notice of proposed rulemaking, and that's FCC parlance. Basically it means, notice of proposed rules for the broadband network. It has talked about a network of networks approach, which is not too different from what Bill was saying is one of the alternatives to having a single nationwide network.
Now, we do strongly believe that what you need is a single nationwide architecture using a coordinated function to get to that single nationwide network, but that doesn't preclude having individual buildouts, but we need something better coordinated so that we get the economies that you get from having a single nationwide planned buildout.
There's several things that make it, we believe, more efficient. So, for example, having individual networks means you need roaming between networks. That adds expense. It also adds points of failure in terms of interoperability. You need individual network identifiers. They're actually limited in number and it can be very expensive to implement. So as we have developed our position we have come to think more and more that it really is better to have this coordinated nationwide architecture instead of having multiple jurisdictions. And as you mentioned, in terms of economies, part of the reason that you have had such enormous expense and such issues with secret sauce in the past with the P25 system is that you don't have the power behind standard setting bodies that you have with a single governance system.
All of those systems, if you pull them together, you have a much more powerful voice in international and domestic standard setting bodies as well as with individual manufacturers who want to build devices but don't have the demand to justify the less expensive devices if you get too much balkanization among public safety agencies. Well, thank you.
Schrier: And I just say, I agree with what Anna said. I actually agree with everything she said in terms of a national architecture and a national plan.
Chun: So I don't want to keep anybody from lunch but I just want to give a round of applause to our excellent panelists and thank all of you for joining us. [Applause] Thank you again to NIJ, to Dr. Nancy Merritt, to Mr. Joe Heaps for inviting us and for making this program possible. And we hope that you enjoyed learning more about public safety broadband. Thanks.
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