APTS Pledges Spectrum to FirstNet

America's Public Television Stations (APTS) have committed "in principle" to allocate 1 Mbps of their spectrum to the FirstNet public safety network (HDTV, for example, takes about 13 Mbps of the 19 Mbps available per station in the ATSC 1 standard).

FirstNet is the emergency responder network stemming from the communications failures of 911 and funded by FCC spectrum auctions.

APTS changed its name from "The Association of Public Television Stations" Monday as part of a rebranding to focus on the local mission, including public safety, of its TV station members.

The commitment was approved by its members at a public TV summit in Washington.

"We look forward to working with those who will help the government build out and operate the FirstNet system, and the commitment our stations have made today can help FirstNet reach its public safety objectives more quickly and efficiently than it can do without our help," said APTS president Patrick Butler.

FirstNet is looking for partners to create its nationwide network. One of those could be using broadcasters to downlink public safety video, voice and data to first responders in their broadcast footprints.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.