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Congress calls for emergency comm upgrades

While some in Congress are pushing for massive funding - $5 billion a year - to upgrade equipment for first responders, some experts are pushing for something more: a national wireless data network, with dedicated frequencies, that first repsonders could plug into after an emergency, Associated Press reports.

While some in Congress are pushing for massive funding - $5 billion a year - to upgrade equipment for first responders, some experts are pushing for something more: a national wireless data network, with dedicated frequencies, that first repsonders could plug into after an emergency, Associated Press reports.

Such a system wouldn’t be immune to damage but could be quickly repaired, says one of its advocates, Reed Hundt, who chaired the Federal Communications Commission from 1993-97.

“You drive the new antenna in on the back of a truck or you carry them in on choppers if they’re knocked out or drowned and you can get your network back up in hours,” he said in an interview.

Hundt says he’s suggested such a project, but the White House has ignored it. The Department of Homeland Security did not return phone calls seeking comment on the issue.

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