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Facts About Broadband, the D Block & the Coming Public Safety Broadband Network

• Broadband refers to a high-speed fiber-optic or wireless communications network with bandwidth sufficient to carry multiple channels of data, voice, images and video simultaneously.

• The D Block is a 10 MHz section of the broadcast spectrum (758–763 and 788–793 MHz) adjacent to 10 MHz used by public safety. Awarding it to public safety gives us 20 MHz of dedicated spectrum that should reduce congestion and let us traffic more freely in large amounts of data.

• The lower half of the 700 MHz public safety band (763–68/793–98 MHz) was previously designated for broadband communications. Other portions of the upper block are for narrowband (769–75 for base operations/799–805 for mobile operations). To minimize interference between broadband and narrowband operations, the FCC created 1-MHz “guard” bands (768–69/798–99 MHz) between the segments.

• The public safety broadband network will utilize 4G LTE (long-term evolution) technology. LTE is the most modern global standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.

• FirstNet will develop the public safety broadband network, leverage existing infrastructure as possible; set nationwide standards for its use; and work with non-federal entities to build, operate and maintain it.

• The network will ultimately serve about 60,000 federal, state, local and tribal agencies across the entire U.S. and its territories.

• A Public Safety Trust Fund will fund state and local implementation grants, network construction, NG9-1-1 development and research.

For more, see www.broadband.gov/issues/public-safety.html.

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