Lawmakers call for public safety network

Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) appeared at the press conference to call for a nationwide wireless broadband network exclusively for first responders.   

“This life-saving legislation is long overdue,” Schumer said. “As we approach the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, we should honor the first responders who risked their lives on that fateful day by finally giving our heroes the network they need to effectively communicate during times of crisis. We should move quickly to pass this win-win bill that will increase public safety while decreasing the national debt.”  

Rockefeller, the chairman of the Commerce Committee, has said he wants to pass legislation creating the public safety network before the 10th anniversary of the attacks. 

King, the only Republican lawmaker at the event, said, "This legislation provides our first responders with the technology to disseminate and receive critical information instantly. It is imperative that this legislation is passed."

Opponents of the bill argue that the government should auction the valuable D-block spectrum to commercial providers instead of allocating it. They argue that an auction could raise billions of dollars for the federal government to pay off the nation's debt and to fund a public safety network for first responders. The public safety agencies would share the spectrum with the commercial users.