Wireless Tech and Policy Summit Illustrates SBC’s True Scope

By John Foley, SBC Managing Director

Posted on June 16, 2023

Ask anyone “What is the Safer Buildings Coalition?” or, “What is the mission of the Safer Buildings Coalition?," and you are likely to hear one or more of the following:

  • “They are about fire codes and in-building LMR.”
  • “They focus on public safety.”
  • “They advocate and educate about ERCES (ERRCS, in-building public safety, etc.)”
  • “We do cell DAS and Private LTE, we don’t do public safety, so they aren’t really relevant to us.”
  • “Chief Perdue!”

We get it. SBC has been very involved in the creation and adoption of the fire and building codes and standards that are the principal drivers of the in-building public safety business. But that is not how SBC got its start, and that does not describe the full scope of the SBC mission. 

The range of topics covered at the SBC Wireless Tech and Policy Summit in Washington, DC showed a wider look at topics that impact in-building coverage beyond normal fire code and public safety LMR coverage. (Of course, we covered that too):

  • Fireside Chat with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr [Wide-ranging wireless policy and workforce development discussion]
  • Fireside Chat with Jim Bugel, President, FirstNet and Public Safety for AT&T [Cellular for public safety]
  • Federal Programs and Funding [Government Spending on Broadband]
  • How will we use 4.9GHz and 6GHz? [Broadband Spectrum Issues]
  • User Equipment Evolution [Blending of LMR / LTE into handsets]
  • School Safety and Wireless Communications [policy initiative covering cell and LMR]
  • Noise and Interference [policy initiative covering cell and LMR]
  • In-Building Wireless Coverage Imperative [we covered our base topics here]

We also brought many new faces to the table. So, let me ask you: Who else is this focused on in-building?

Here is what we say about our scope on the front page of our website:

The Safer Buildings Coalition is the only advocacy group and resource for everything related to solving for In-Building Wireless "Dead Zones".

Our Scope includes all In-Building Technologies: 
Commercial Cellular (LTE / 5G) • LMR (Land Mobile Radio) •
Emergency Responder Communications Enhancement Systems (ERCES) •
Private LTE • Future Technologies.

As you can see from the graphic, we see the elimination of Wireless Dead Zones to be the goal to make Buildings Safer. If you are disconnected, you are not safe.

Follow the Money
One of the major obstacles in defeating Wireless Dead Zones is figuring out how to fund these projects. It is almost always the property owner who must fund these projects. When local codes require in-building coverage, it begins a funding process.

This is a key point: In-building cellular coverage and Private LTE Networks investments are driven by market needs and use cases. These are frequently discretionary spending, at least in terms of timing and scope.  Among the value we bring is creating a conversation about what traditional in-building public safety systems (ERCES – Emergency Responder Communications Enhancement Systems) have in common with other types of infrastructure like Cell DAS, Private LTE, and even other low-voltage systems. What we call: GOOD BONES.

What's in Common? Smart Buildings Need "Good Bones"

  • Pathway (Raceways, Conduit, Access Points, Cores, Wall Space, Closets and telco Rooms)
    • Early = Cost Effective
    • After the Fact: $$$$
  • Connectivity (Fiber, fiber, fiber, copper, patch panels
  • Power (Centralized, sustainable, resilient, reliable, distributed, digital)
  • Environmental (Space, Cooling)
  • Access (Closets, Demarcs)
  • Current, Accurate Records
  • Labor

Areas of Impact
There are some organizations who offer events or training that have some focus on in-building wireless.

Safer Buildings makes efforts in all the following areas to advocate for and drive the SBC mission. If you are similarly aligned in the mission, please consider joining with us in these efforts:

  • Thought Leadership
    • The Wireless Dead Zone Narrative
    • National Seminar Program (25 cities in 2023, 33 in 2022)
    •  Speaking and advocating at many national and regional events
      • IWCE, ConnectX, APCO, FFMIA and other State Fire Marshal events, NASFM, PSBTA, NIST 5x5, more
    • Content Development
    • Workforce Competency
  • Lobbying / Policy Advocacy
    • Federal, State and Local
    • Advocate for better rules
    • Defend against enforcement bans and restrictions
    • FCC
    • Legislative
    • Defeating Noise and Interference
    • Government Affairs Work Group
  • Codes and Standards Development
    • ICC, NFPA, UL, TIA
    • Codes and Standards Workgroup
  • Workforce Development
  • Market Development
    • Opening new areas for enforcement
    • Trade Association Partnerships
  • Member Services and Resources
    • Answering codes and standards questions in support of projects and AHJ discussions (we do this a lot! Have you asked us?)
    • Sponsorship programs
    • Member Promotion
    • Creating virtual and in-person networking opportunities
    • Many, many resources at www.saferbuildings.org
    • Our Member Showcase
    • Our BDA and DAS Directory
    • Member Advocacy Workgroup
    • More!

Help Us Help You
SBC is very interested in supporting the adjacent sectors of the in-building wireless industry. Tell us what areas you’d like us to create more support and visibility on?

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Related Article: FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr Headlines Wireless Tech & Policy Summit Line-Up