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Public Safety Communications Research Program: Creating a Pathway to Public-Safety Broadband

The passage of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which enables the development of a nationwide public-safety broadband network, was the result of years of hard work, testimony and discussions by many public-safety stakeholders.

That’s the visible and public aspect of the public-safety broadband efforts. What’s not so noticeable are the countless government and commercial partners who are spending vast amounts of resources in bringing this legislation to reality.

These efforts were highlighted recently at the third annual Face-to-Face Stakeholders Meeting of the Public Safety Communications Research Program (PSCR) held in Broomfield, Colo.

More than 350 individuals attended PSCR’s stakeholders meeting, but only a very small portion of the attendees represented public-safety agencies or first responders. Most attendees represented the technical community, which will ultimately engineer the solutions for bringing the nationwide public-safety broadband network to reality.

Over the course of two days, participants engaged in discussions of such topics as system infrastructure, end-user equipment, nationwide network modeling and national and international standards setting.

Truly noteworthy during the meeting was the dedication displayed by all the engineers, academics and associated technical people in developing a broadband network to reliably meet the diverse needs of the public-safety community.

From a fire chief’s perspective, what is most significant is the level of involvement the IAFC plays in forming and participating in broadband efforts as well as all emerging communication issues.

The IAFC’s Communications Committee members and staff play key roles and represent the fire service on many national committees that influence contemporary public-safety communications.

Gary McCarraher is chair of the IAFC’s Communications Committee.

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