FCC Proposes $16 Billion Public Safety Broadband Network


The Federal Communication Commission’s National Broadband Plan, released yesterday, calls for a new “minimal” fee on all U.S. broadband users to help pay for a new $16 billion nationwide emergency response wireless network, reports Computerworld. Public safety officials have pleaded for such an interoperable network to aid their response to disasters and potential attacks after police and firefighters could not communicate effectively during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and after Hurricane Katrina.

“If we don’t get the funding, this network won’t be possible and following 9/11 and Katrina, we need the funding,” said Charles Werner, chief of the Charlottesville, Va., fire department and chairman of the executive committee of Safecom, a public safety communications organization that works with the Department of Homeland Security. In a 19-page section on public safety, the plan calls for creating a national wireless network for first responders and says that the cost of between $12 billion and $16 billion over 10 years could be paid with state and local contributions.

Comments are closed.