Cyren Call No Longer Official Emergency Communications Advisor for PSST

Cyren Call's role as emergency communications advisor has apparently run aground on the rocks of economic turmoil, a new administration and the "indefinite hiatus in the regulatory processes toward creation of a nationwide network for public safety."

The company said Friday it will no longer be the official adviser to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust, which was tapped by the FCC to be the licensee of a 10 mhz swatch of spectrum the commission set aside for emergency communications as part of its 700 mhz spectrum auction last year. It was to have been paired with a 10 mhz block of commercial spectrum in a public-private partnership, but nobody bid the minimum price for the commercial block and the FCC is now trying to figure out how to attract a bidder when it re-auctions the spectrum.

"There is a new environment taking shape and a new team is being assembled in Washington, DC. As a result, those of us pursuing the creation of a nationwide network for public safety, along with many who are following other wireless communications initiatives, will need patience as the dust settles and priorities begin to take shape," said Cyren Call Chairman Morgan O'Brien Friday in a statement. "In addition, the broadband communications provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act seem to suggest an expanded role for state and local governments around the country, many of whom have long grappled with the problems caused by the lack of public safety communications interoperability. This, hopefully along with the extensive record compiled by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will be integrated into and will influence the thinking of the FCC."

While he said he was sure the new Congress and FCC would pay the requisite attention to resolving the public safety network problem, he added "as we stand here today, there is no way of knowing when or along what path the process will move forward. It is realities and considerations like these that have led us to the decision we've announced today."

Cyren Call proposed the public/private partnership to Congress a couple of years ago. O'Brien, who pioneered Nextel, argued that his proposal would provide the widest possible public safety network that would be otherwise economically infeasible.

The FCC, under Kevin Martin, took to the proposal, though Martin would have preferred that Congress simply fund the program outright.

Inoperable first responder communications has been a hot-button issue since the 9/11 attacks.

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.