First-responders lobby supercommittee for wireless network

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 The 9/11 Commission Report identified communication breakdowns as a critical problem that hampered first-responders.

 “Congress should act on one of the final outstanding recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to give every first responder and citizen the comfort of an interoperable nationwide broadband network that is critical to saving lives during emergencies, from every day incidents to disasters and terrorist attack,” said Dick Mirgon, spokesman for the Public Safety Alliance.

The proposed network would allow agencies from different jurisdictions to communicate during emergencies and would allow first responders to transmit video and data in real-time.

President Obama included the creation of a public safety network in the jobs bill he unveiled in an address before Congress Thursday night.

Advocates of the public safety network argue it should be included in a deficit reduction plan because spectrum reform, as a whole, can raise revenue.

Wireless carriers argue they need more spectrum because of increasing demand driven by data-hungry smartphones and other devices. Encouraging television broadcasters to give up their spectrum through incentive auctions will make more room for wireless broadband. These auctions have the potential to raise billions of dollars.

Obama's American Jobs Act would spend $10 billion to build the public safety network and expand broadband access to 98 percent of Americans but would raise $28 billion from spectrum auctions, according to a White House fact sheet