Magazine article National Defense

Communication Interoperability Not Yet Achieved, Says Chertoff

Magazine article National Defense

Communication Interoperability Not Yet Achieved, Says Chertoff

Article excerpt

Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff expressed frustration that the federal government has yet to establish a national radio spectrum available to public-safety agencies during emergencies, The plan was proposed more than a decade ago and has been in the works since 2007.

Two years ago, the Federal Communications Commission reserved a 10-megahertz block of radio spectrum for public-safety use. Commission officials expected a private company to buy the space and build a radio network that would be leased to police forces, fire departments and other emergency-response agencies.

The plan stalled last year when only one company bid for the space, but at a price well below what the FCC was willing to accept. This spectrum, known as the D-block, remains unsold and unused.

"It is disappointing that we haven't, for example, reached a decision on a dedicated spectrum and that we haven't moved forward on basic interoperability in parts of the country," Chertoff said at a panel discussion in Washington on emergency communications. …

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