FCC Wants Broadband Users to Fund Emergency Network

For as little as 50 cents a month, every broadband user could enjoy the peace of mind of knowing police, fire and military are all interconnected and ready to spring into coordinated action in a crisis. That’s what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) envisions for U.S. citizens.

In an article on the Computerworld website, Matt Hamblem says James Barnett, the top public safety official at the FCC, has renewed his call for a national data network for public safety workers despite pressure to keep federal spending down.

The network would provide data services to emergency workers, and would eventually add voice services as the technology evolves, Barnett said. Rescue teams could use the data service to send text and e-mail messages as well as video of crime scenes and fires, schematic diagrams of burned or damaged buildings or roadways, and more, says the article.

Among the supporters of the initiative are public safety workers, according to Barnett, including some who worked in response to the September 11th attacks or Hurricane Katrina and experienced first-hand the difficulties of malfunctioning radio communication. And in a written statement on March 18th, leaders of the former 9/11 Commission said they had concluded that “the absence of interoperable communications capabilities among public safety organizations at the local, state and federal levels was a problem of the highest order” and that the “FCC’s plan offers a realistic framework to move forward.”

To read the Computerworld article, click here: