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Technology Transitions and Public Safety Workshop and Online Forum

by: Rear Admiral (Ret.) David Simpson, Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

April 16, 2014

Technology transitions, in the telecommunications sector, are already happening, and they will continue to have a profound impact on public safety communications.  As networks transform, the capability for public safety officials to reliably communicate among themselves and with the public must be preserved.  Similarly, the ability for individuals to reach help in an emergency is fundamental and must be maintained.  We are committed to ensuring that the critical functionalities served by the legacy infrastructure are supported after transition to IP-based infrastructure and, where possible, improved.  Public safety, disaster response and homeland security communities must remain reliable and secure under a wide range of stressful conditions – they must be available when we need them.

To that end, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is hosting a workshop on Thursday, April 17, 2014, on the impact of technology transition on public safety.

Representatives from public safety agencies, service providers, technology vendors, and other stakeholders will participate in roundtable discussions to explore the impact of the retirement of switched telecommunications service (PSTN, TDM), the anticipated interdependencies and new failure modalities for IP transport, copper to fiber transition and copper to wireless transition.

The workshop will identify areas of risk associated with the planned IP Transition and determine risk factors for key public safety, emergency response, and national security functions. 

The workshop will be streamed live online for those who cannot attend in-person.  We will also be accepting questions during the workshop via email at livequestions@fcc.gov or by Twitter using the #TechTransitions hashtag.

To encourage further dialogue and partnerships on each session of the workshop, the commission is hosting 3 online discussion forums:

The online discussion forums will be open beginning April 17, 2014, until close of business on May 1, 2014.  Anyone is welcome to join the dialogue, and all comments will become part of the official record for the GN Docket No. 13-5 proceeding. 

The Commission is excited at the opportunity to engage in the discussion and looks forward to a vigorous and lively dialogue. As we acknowledge the realities of an already transitioning world, we realize that the hard work ahead is shared across many stakeholders, which is why we all must work together to meet this challenge.

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