Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the 9/11 Commission recommended the establishment of a nationwide, interoperable public safety communications network to resolve communications challenges faced by emergency responders. For the past decade, public safety worked with State and local government officials, the Federal government, and Members of Congress to amass support for a nationwide network. On February 22, 2012, President Obama signed into law H.R.3630, the “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.” Title VI of H.R. 3630, entitled “Public Safety Communications and Electromagnetic Spectrum Auctions,” includes provisions to fund and govern a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.
The Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network will provide a secure, reliable and dedicated interoperable network for emergency responders to communicate during an emergency. Supporters secured the “D Block” – a 10 Megahertz (MHz) section of radio spectrum adjacent to 10MHz currently licensed to public safety – to be used for the nationwide network. This will provide 20 MHz of spectrum solely dedicated for the use of emergency responders and ensure they have adequate network capacity, which often becomes congested during an emergency situation.
Building the First new Nationwide Public Safety Interoperable Wireless Broadband Network presents an opportunity to bring commercial technologies to the public safety community that will allow them access to much needed and reliable wireless data services.
The Vision for a Public Safety Broadband Network Includes
- Public/Private Partnership(s) that will facilitate building a Nationwide Public Safety Interoperable Wireless Broadband Network
- Network reliability, security, and coverage greater than currently provided by commercial carriers but giving public safety access to the latest commercial technologies
- A satellite data path component that will provide coverage when terrestrial service is disrupted or not available
- To ensure all Americans can access emergency services quickly and send and receive vital information, regardless of how it is transmitted. (NG911)
- To revolutionize the way Americans are notified about emergencies and disasters so they receive information vital to their safety. (IPAWS/EAS)