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Federal Communications Commission
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Washington, D.C. 20554
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Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

January 28, 1999


Chairman William E. Kennard announced today that he has chosen Kathleen Wallman to Chair the Commission's Public Safety National Coordination Committee (NCC).

"I'm delighted that Kathy has chosen to accept this important position. The licensing of this spectrum is a major step in ensuring that our nation's public safety agencies have the spectrum resources they need to protect the safety of life, health and property in this country," said Chairman Kennard. "She brings with her a wealth of telecommunications expertise that will be essential as the NCC develops a national structure for what is the largest allocation ever of public safety spectrum."

Since November 1997, Wallman has worked at Wallman Strategic Consulting. Prior to that she served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Counselor and Chief of Staff of the National Economic Council. Wallman also served as Deputy Counsel to the President in the Office of the White House Counsel from November 1995 until January 1997.

Wallman began her government service in 1994 at the FCC as Deputy Chief of the Cable Services Bureau. From that position she moved to the Common Carrier Bureau where she served as Bureau Chief from 1994-1995. Wallman came to the Commission from the law firm of Arnold & Porter.

In a Report and Order adopted in December 1997, the Commission reallocated 24 MHz to public safety as part of DTV transition (700 MHz public safety spectrum). On August 6, 1998, the Commission adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, creating service and licensing rules for the 700 MHz public safety spectrum. As part of this action, the Commission called for the creation of the NCC, to be established pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, to advise the Commission on a variety of issues relating to the use of this spectrum and to provide a national structure to govern coordinated spectrum use, particularly for interoperability purposes.

One of the major benefits of the new public safety spectrum is that it offers a potential long term solution to the problem of lack of interoperability that has plagued public safety communications for many years. Because public safety radio operations are scattered across the radio spectrum, and because many systems and technologies used by public safety agencies are incompatible with each other, units from different agencies at the scene of a major emergency have had difficulty communicating with each other. This spectrum will provide a nation-wide grouping of interoperability channels upon which a national interoperability plan could be based that would solve this problem permanently. The NCC will be tasked with developing this plan.

Other responsibilities of the NCC will be to: (1) recommend interoperability digital modulation, trunking, and receiver standards; (2) offer voluntary assistance in the development of coordinated regional plans; and (3) provide recommendations on other technical matters common to the public safety community generally. The Committee will also facilitate intergovernmental communications between local, state and federal public safety agencies with expertise in the planning and design of telecommunications networks.

Today the Commission also released a Public Notice requesting nominations for membership in the NCC.

- FCC -

News Media contact: Meribeth McCarrick (202) 418-0654 Wireless Bureau contact: D'Wana Terry at (202) 418-0680