A Compelling Vision for the Future of Public Safety Communications


Author: Jamie Barnett
Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The National Broadband Plan lays out a comprehensive vision for the future of public safety communications.

The Plan's recommendations for advancing public safety and homeland security draw upon an extensive record and incorporate input from the public safety community, service providers, vendors and countless others. We truly appreciate the efforts of all who contributed to development of these recommendations, which we believe will revolutionize public safety communications and emergency response. Our central recommendation is the creation of a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband wireless network through incentive-based partnerships between public safety agencies and the partner of their choice.

The Plan asks Congress to commit a substantial amount of public funding -- as much as $12-16 billion over 10 years -- to support the build-out and operation of this network. It also recommends that the FCC create an Emergency Response Interoperability Center (ERIC) to ensure a baseline of operability and interoperability for the network nationwide. Recommendations to enable roaming and priority access on commercial networks will also help ensure that public safety has access to a network when and where they need it. Our recommendations will ensure that there truly is a nationwide network for the public safety community that is interoperable and provides them with the advanced communications capabilities they need.

The Plan also makes recommendations on how to improve cybersecurity and proposals to facilitate the deployment of Next Generation 911, which will incorporate broadband technologies to improve the emergency response capabilities of public safety answering points (PSAPs), first responders, and other professionals. Finally, the Plan calls for the FCC to explore how to develop a multiple platform, redundant, next-generation alert system—one which uses broadband capabilities to better support underserved communities and reach a wider audience.

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