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A Modest Proposal: The Public Safety Shared DAS Coalition

By Mike Collado
February 3rd, 2012

SOLiD is proposing the formation of a Public Safety Shared DAS Coalition to ensure that public radio service coverage is as universal indoors as it is outside of the building for first responders. Simply put, it is the right thing to do.

We believe that Public Safety is viewed as a “hitchhiker” when it comes to Distributed Antenna System (DAS) deployments. That’s because Public Safety is typically unfunded and the local agencies – fire, police and EMS – generally are unable to fully fund the project on their own. SOLiD, through the Coalition initiative, is urging a shift whereby Public Safety becomes a “carpooler” that shares the DAS with other commercial cellular providers. In other words, Public Safety pays its share for being on the DAS.

This is akin to the early days of cellular when each carrier erected its own tower. Over time, carriers learned that it was more effective to share towers to deliver coverage.

We’ve seen a similar transformation in DAS in which single-carrier, standalone DAS deployments have increasingly become neutral-host, multi-carrier DAS platforms.

It’s now time for indoor coverage for Public Safety to similarly evolve. Technology is not the obstacle. Instead, it is alignment of the stakeholders as in the above examples.

The Coalition calls upon the public safety organizations, building owners and wireless industry to create a national policy framework that would require DAS networks to accommodate public safety radio frequencies and develop an accredited certification program for technicians responsible for deploying DAS networks that serve Public Safety, Commercial Cellular, and Two-Way Radio.

Seth Buechley, SOLiD’s president, presented this proposal at an FCC DAS panel event earlier this week:

 

To be sure, the Public Safety Shared DAS Coalition is in the nascent planning stages and we’re sorting through the dynamics of bringing together the public safety, wireless and building owner stakeholders. So let us ask a simple question whose answer is likely not simple:

How can the Coalition best effect change to achieve the outcome of universal indoor public safety radio coverage?

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