Securing Spectrum for Safety’s Sake

Securing Spectrum for Safety’s Sake

Jadon Myers

Byline: Jason Meyers

It’s been a while since this industry had a good old-fashioned spectrum scuffle. The most significant one in recent history took place in the mid-1990s – who can forget the smackdown between the winners of 1.9 GHz PCS spectrum licenses and the incumbent microwave network operators that were the previous tenants of that frequency band? After much wrangling, finger-pointing, back-biting and lobbying, the new licensees ended up not only relocating the incumbents, but also paying to help them upgrade their systems with digital technologies.

In this far more security-conscious decade, another spectrum-related showdown is coming to a head – and this time, it’s not just commercial wireless success that’s at stake, but also the safety and protection of the populace. In this issue’s cover story (page 8), Chief Correspondent Dan O’Shea explores the controversy over how Nextel Communications’ networks interfere with public safety communications systems. Nextel has proposed a solution, but just as the PCS licensees of last decade accused microwave incumbents of extortion, some competitors are calling Nextel opportunistic.

Given the heightened state of our country’s security consciousness (not to mention epic natural disasters like the wildfires that are currently ravaging Southern California), public safety communications systems are more critical than ever. Rather than crying foul over Nextel’s appeasement efforts, the rest of the wireless industry should be considering how to address this extremely important and lucrative market opportunity themselves.

This issue features technology reports on two other important and lucrative subjects as well: On page 28, Senior Editor Tim McElligott examines how Memphis Network solved its service provisioning woes for metro optical offerings. And on page 34, Senior Writer Ed Gubbins offers an in-depth look at the burgeoning popularity of switched metro Ethernet services.

Finally, some shameless self-promotion for some upcoming special features: The next issue of Telephony will feature our first annual Telecom Resource Guide, an updated and expanded version of our former buyers’ guide that will comprise not only listings of industry players, but also sector-by-sector editorial analyses and other pertinent information. (Look for the wireless equivalent in the December issue of our sister publication, Wireless Review.) And our Dec. 1 issue will feature Telephony’s annual 10 to Watch, complete with comprehensive analyses of and projections for all major industry sectors.

As always, we’re doing everything we can to keep you apprised of what’s next. Please let me know what you think at

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