The Federal Communications Commission is proposing a national wireless, IP-based, broadband emergency network to be built by private companies, the BBC reports.
"Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to hear local public safety personnel recount their experiences on the ground during the tragic events of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita," said Deborah Taylor Tate, commissioner at the FCC in a statement. "Their eyewitness accounts underscore how important it is that our nation's first responders have access to reliable and redundant communications in the event of an emergency, and how much remains to be done before those tools are available."
The proposed network would use the 700MHz band of the radio spectrum, which is already allocated to public safety. It can travel over long distances and penetrate walls.
"Our country is teeming with entrepreneurs, willing and able to invest and take the risks necessary to accelerate the development and roll-out of advanced services," said Commissioner Robert McDowell. "The same market and technological forces that have made advanced wireless services an everyday part of living for the vast majority of Americans can and should be leveraged by the public safety community," he added.
The network would deliver for the first time a fully unified emergency communications system for the entire country.
Kevin Martin, chairman of the FCC in the US said any decision to implement a new network would fall to the federal government. "If Congress determines that additional spectrum resources in the 700MHz band should be allocated to public safety, the commission would implement that determination."