The Future of the Emergency Communications Network

By Gavigan, Jennifer | Law & Order, June 2008 | Go to article overview

The Future of the Emergency Communications Network


Gavigan, Jennifer, Law & Order


A lack of communication in an emergency response situation can mean the difference between life and death. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the nation's emergency communications network has come under scrutiny. The inability of police and firefighters to communicate with one another revealed the current system's inadequacies. A possible solution to the problem is creating a new emergency communications network using a portion of the public airwaves funded by private money.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved an emergency communications plan in the summer of 2007. The original plan called for the creation of a network shared by public safety officials and commercial users. The cost would be covered by private investors who, in the long run, hope to make a profit. Considered prime territory for providing advanced wireless broadband services, the airwaves in the 700 MHz band will become available as TV broadcasters make the transition to digital TV.

Under the plan, the FCC set aside about one-sixth of the recently auctioned airwaves. This portion was termed the "D block" and would have been combined with a roughly equal portion of spectrum controlled by a public safety trust to create a shared network. The winning D block bidder, in exchange for use of the public safety spectrum, would build the network and make a profit by selling access to wireless service providers.

But the recently completed auction of a portion of the public airwaves, while raising a record $19.1 billion, failed to attract a bidder to build the wireless broadband network. Frontline, a start-up company backed by Silicon Valley heavyweights and co-founded by former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, was the only prospective bidder that showed interest in buying the spectrum and sharing it with public safety. But the company has since ceased operations due to its inability to raise financing.

According to the Associated Press, a congressional panel of Republicans recently said the FCC should re-auction a block of public airwaves to the highest bidder and turn the proceeds over to public safety professionals to build a new, nationwide emergency communications network. The idea was raised when the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet heard testimony on why the original plan to create a new network failed to attract much interest from the commercial sector.

Estimates on how much a national network would cost have varied widely, but the commission has estimated it would cost between $6 billion and $7 billion. Skeptics of the plan and its high price tag are uncertain whether the block would generate that much revenue at an auction. Harlin McEwen, chairman of the nonprofit board that oversees the spectrum trust, opposed the idea, saying it would not provide enough spectrum to emergency responders and would be unlikely to raise enough money to build the network. Additionally, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., said he considered such an approach to be an admission that "we are not serious about attaining true interoperability."

The real concern for public safety professionals is how this will benefit them. One positive aspect of a new network is that it would help solve the interoperability problem by allowing emergency personnel access to many of the advances in wireless technology now available to commercial users. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Future of the Emergency Communications Network
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.