Verizon Once Again Shows it is Anti-Public Safety

By Editorial Staff

Verizon has finally publicly stated their endgame for public safety and that is to take away your spectrum and sell it to the highest bidder.  On June 11th, Verizon executives filed comments with the FCC on 4.9GHz spectrum where they said, “assign this spectrum through an appropriate competitive process (e.g., auction, bidding process, etc.),” proving once again how they are against public safety. They did go on to say that they would “support” auction proceeds going to public safety, but saying it is different from doing it. Public safety has been down this path before and it isn’t easy, and it doesn’t work.  But make no mistake, this is the beginning of Verizon’s and CERCI’s endgame to take the 4.9GHz spectrum away from public safety.

I think all of us can agree that this would be bad for public safety. Even those few entities in public safety who oppose the PSSA position should agree it is bad because they would lose their spectrum. Yet, they should note that this is the position of the one of their major supporters, Verizon. Do all of the CERCI members agree with taking away critical spectrum from public safety? If not, now is the time for them to stand up and say so. 

Needless to say, this is a bad idea since public safety needs the spectrum and the best public safety use is within the FirstNet ecosystem. Let’s now go over why Verizon’s position is bad for public safety:

  • First and foremost, this would require Congressional approval. That is not likely to happen. Years were spent getting FirstNet approved and this would be another long battle.
  • We have been there and done that with the Public Safety Interoperable Communication (PSIC) grants about 20 years ago. One billion dollars was allocated, and we never solved the interoperability problem.
  • Grant funds are formula based and the big cities got most of the money leaving rural America with little or nothing in most cases. 
  • This is a way for Verizon to capture those funds by allowing the money to be spent on their services, benefiting the stock holders and corporate executives.
  • Around 2010 there was a Congressional Research report written by Linda Moore which we have cited on the website before. In that report, Moore discussed the “billions” that Congress has spent on interoperable communications that never solved the problem. Again, a demonstration that Verizon’s concept will not work. 

In the Verizon / CERCI plan, the vast majority of public safety loses out—everywhere from Port Townsend, Washington to Marathon, FL and places in between like Ames, IA. When you consider that Verizon was a principal founder and funder of CERCI with the specious claim that CERCI was seeking to protect 4.9 GHz for public safety to Verizon now suggesting that the spectrum should be auctioned, you have, in effect, a clear case of bait and switch by Verizon. 

One last bold, false statement from Verizon. They call this a spectrum “giveaway.” To the contrary, the PSSA position is simply adding the ability for FirstNet to use 4.9 GHz for the benefit of public safety. The inability to understand the law that creates FirstNet doesn’t give Verizon license to misstate the facts. We have written about Verizon’s previous misstatements on this website and have shown over the years how Verizon has continued to pull away from public safety. This is one more example demonstrating that they are truly not acting in the interest of public safety, rather they are acting in interest of their corporate profits.


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