Bay Area Cities Opting Out of Emergency Communications Upgrade

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has agreed to provide $50 million to facilitate communications between local agencies in the event of a terrorist attack. The program was started after disconnects between different response agencies were reported during 9/11.

In California’s Bay Area, Motorola was selected to upgrade 193 communications towers and has agreed to provide an additional $20 million to the project, according to an article in SFGate, the website of the San Francisco Chronicle. The goal is to facilitate disaster communication throughout the region via a new 700-megahertz radio band.

But some local agencies are questioning their participation or opting out altogether because they fear that they will be asked to contribute an unknown amount of money to the upgrade.

“We want to participate in this program, but we don't know all the costs, and we're not willing to write a blank check," said Reneé Domingo, director of Oakland's Office of Emergency Services.

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