Public Safety

Shut out by Republicans, House Democrats introduce their own spectrum bill
The Internet is the bright spot in the U.S. economy, said Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski.
The new Obama jobs bill addresses the popular, but still not passed, first responders communications network. According to the White House: "The plan follows the model in the bipartisan legislation from Senators Rockefeller and Hutchison in including an investment to develop and deploy a nationwide, interoperable wireless network for public safety."
The September 11 attacks revealed that a coordinated response was extremely difficult because first responders from different jurisdictions used radios with different frequencies. 10 years later, many emergency departments are still struggling with a national patchwork system of communication.
The Communications Workers of America is supporting two parallel congressional bills allocating the D-Block wireless spectrum for a dedicated public safety network.
Earlier this month, Vice President Biden announced the launch of the Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative, a program designed to support the development and deployment of a fully interoperable nationwide network for public safety officials.
An interoperable public safety network is one step closer to becoming a reality. On June 8, the Senate Commerce Committee overwhelmingly approved S.911, the Public Safety and Wireless Innovation Act.
A panel event hosted by the White House on April 6 highlighted support for legislation allowing the FCC to compensate broadcasters for returned spectrum. Voluntary spectrum auctions are a market-friendly solution to free up spectrum for public safety and wireless broadband.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced a bill last week to allocate 10MHz of airwaves to public safety. The re-allocated band of spectrum, known as the D-block, would be an essential tool for first responders who face heightened spectrum demand during emergency situations.
On February 16, the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee held a hearing on Sen. John D. Rockefeller's bill, The Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act of 2011, which would allocate the "D-Block" of wireless spectrum to our nation's public safety officials. CWA supports this bill that will allow America's first responders to create a nationwide interoperable communications network.