MCP Insights

Statement from MCP on the Passage of the Spectrum Innovation Act of 2022

Posted on August 1, 2022 by Darrin Reilly

The House's passage of HR 7624, the Spectrum Innovation Act of 2022, is a giant leap forward for the 911 community. The bill allocates up to $10 billion for the implementation of Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems across the country, as well as an NG911 cybersecurity center and an NG911 advisory board.

This is long overdue. Roughly four years ago, the 911 Implementation Coordination Office (ICO) published the Next Generation 911 Cost Study. Mission Critical Partners completed this work under contract to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s National 911 Program. The Cost Study identified a range of $9.6 billion to $12.7 billion needed to implement NG911 systems nationwide. Thus, the $10 billion identified by the House in this bill is in alignment.

We long have advocated that Congress provide support to NG911 that is similar to the support — $7 billion in seed money — that it provided to the nationwide public safety broadband network being built under the auspices of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The House’s passage of this bill brings the 911 community closer to that event.

Of course, a few things need to be worked out. First, the Senate needs to pass its version of the bill, the two versions will need to be reconciled, and then President Biden will need to sign the bill into law. Then there’s the matter of the spectrum auction that will generate the proceeds needed to support the $10 billion allocation — it’s anyone’s guess right now regarding how much that auction will generate. Moreover, spectrum auctions and rulemaking tend to take years to execute — this bill grants the Federal Communications Commission up to seven years to conduct this auction. The 911 community doesn’t have seven years, nor does the nation — NG911 is needed now.

Nevertheless, despite these unknowns, last week was a very good week for the 911 community, as well as the citizenry, which will benefit greatly from the advanced capabilities of NG911 compared with those of the legacy 911 system — which is like comparing an airplane with a horse and buggy.

Darrin Reilly, president and chief executive officer, Mission Critical Partners

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