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U.S. Senator Plans to Provide First Responders with National Interoperable Broadband Network

Jan 31, 2007 News Release
U.S. Senator John McCain today laid out a plan to introduce legislation that would establish a new nationwide, state-of-the-art public safety broadband network to promote interoperable communications among first responders.

"The federal government has made strides in developing a comprehensive, interoperable emergency communications plan, establishing equipment standards, funding the purchase of emergency and interoperable communications equipment, and belatedly making additional radio spectrum available. But none of this is enough. We must do more," Senator McCain said.

The network, which would be created by licensing an additional 30 MHz of radio spectrum in the upper 700 MHz band to a Public Safety Broadband Trust, would provide first responders seamless nationwide roaming capability and allow for the real time transmission of data.

"It is now time to think big and bold and solve the interoperability crisis once and for all. We are at a watershed moment where we can provide more of the 700 MHz spectrum to solve our national public safety communications crisis and greatly enhance our emergency preparedness. If we do not act now, this valuable spectrum will be auctioned off and this opportunity will be lost forever," McCain continued.

The 9/11 Commission's Final Report states that: "Command and control decisions were affected by the lack of knowledge of what was happening 30, 60, 90, and 100 floors above." The Final Report recommended the "expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum to public safety entities," and the bill that McCain will introduce would finally implement that recommendation.

The allocation of an additional 30 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum and the creation of a Public Safety Broadband Trust have been endorsed in resolutions passed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Major Counties Sheriffs Association, National Sheriffs Association, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, the Western Fire Chiefs Association and others.

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