Chief Jack Parow, IAFC president and chairman of the board, testified earlier this week before the House Committee on Homeland Security at a hearing on the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011 (H.R. 607). The bill is sponsored by Chairman Peter King (R-NY) and Ranking Minority Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS), along with 10 bipartisan cosponsors.
Chief Parow noted the urgent need to establish a nationwide public-safety wireless interoperable broadband network. He said the main ingredient to do this is a network with sufficient capacity under public safety control, built mission-critical at the outset, with federal funding to assist. That means Congress must pass a bill directing the FCC to allocate the D Block of spectrum to public safety.
“The IAFC wholeheartedly supports H.R. 607,” said Parow. “This bill provides public safety with the spectrum and funding to begin the hard work of constructing a nationwide public-safety broadband network.”
He reminded members of Congress that the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is only five months away and the major problems facing public-safety communications are still not addressed.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction. A similar bill, which had a hearing last month, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rockefeller.