House bill to create public safety broadband network

By Jolie Lee
Web Editor
Federal News Radio

Two House lawmakers will introduce a bill to create a nationwide, interoperable broadband network for first responders.

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2011, emergency responders found they could not communicate with each other. A decade later, that problem persists.

Online Chat: DJ Kachman, the Veterans Affairs Department’s director of mobile and security technology transformation lead, on April 10, at 1 p.m.

The Wireless Innovation and Public Safety Act of 2011 would provide the Federal Communications Commission with an incentive to auction the radio space known as the D-block and allocate the spectrum for public safety use. The bill also establishes the Public Safety Broadband Corporation, a private non-profit, to oversee the spectrum.


California Reps. Henry Waxman, Anna Eshoo and other Democratic co-sponsors of the bill, said their proposal builds on legislation introduced in the Senate in May.

Construction of a nationwide broadband network remains “critical unfinished business,” said Waxman, ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, in a statement.

Eshoo, ranking member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, said the bill recognizes the surge in mobile use. “[O]ur bill will tackle this growing demand by expanding the availability of both licensed and unlicensed spectrum,” she said in a statement.

The House proposal comes as the National Institute of Standards and Technology is seeking input on a public safety broadband network. In September, NIST sought comments for wireless innovation ideas.


NIST begins outreach for new public safety network

Post-9/11, emergency radios still not connected