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.
Emergency Communications White Papers
- Rapidly Deployable Broadband Wireless Communications for Emergency Management - Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
- HP: Crisis Communications - Hewlett-Packard
- National Security and Emergency Preparedness Plan - AT&T
- Investing in Innovation: MCI Helps Government Connect - e.Republic
- HP: First Responders - Hewlett-Packard
- Department of Communications and Information Technology: Center for Geospatial Information Services - Three Year Operational Plan FY2004-2007 - City of Virginia Beach
- Project SAFECOM: Key Cross-Agency Emergency Communications Effort Requires Stronger Collaboration - Government Accountability Office
- Communications Interoperability: A Critical Link in Emergency Response - Motorola
- Wireless IP - Internet Without Wires - National Communications System
- Avaya Communications Continuity Solutions for Government: Increasing the Effectiveness of Your Organization and Its Mission - Avaya