FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Yucel Ors
August 3, 2011
PUBLIC SAFETY ENCOURAGES CONGRESS TO STAY FOCUSED ON D BLOCK ALLOCATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 3, 2011 – The Public Safety Alliance (PSA) strongly encourages Congress to stay focused on legislation that would allocate the D Block to public safety for the creation of a nationwide, interoperable first responder broadband network, the PSA announced today.
“While the debt bill, which was enacted last night, monopolized a great deal of Congressional time and energy, it is imperative that the House and Senate make passing legislation allocating the D Block and funding to public safety their top priority,” said the PSA in a written statement. “With just six weeks remaining before the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, no issue is more vital to the safety of every American along with those men and women who protect our nation.”
As PSA officials shared with Members of Congress and staff just last week during their fly-in, the D Block is - and will remain - their top priority. Public Safety is committed to continuing to work toward the enactment of a bill that will allocate the D Block to public safety, provide $10-12 billion in funding to build out the broadband network, establish the necessary governance to manage the build out, maintenance and operations of the network, and offset the deficit by auctioning other spectrum bands. The PSA fully supports the bipartisan legislative efforts of U.S. Senators John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) who introduced S. 911, the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act that was overwhelmingly voted (21-4) out of the Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee. Additionally, the PSA supports H.R. 607, legislation co-introduced by U.S. Representatives Peter King (R-NY3) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS2) entitled the Broadband for First Responders Act, which has over 45 bipartisan cosponsors, as well as draft language released by U.S. Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA30) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA14) that closely aligns with the provisions of S. 911.
The PSA continues to strongly oppose any legislative effort that would require the auction of D Block including the draft language that was released by Representative Greg Walden (R-OR). The Walden language not only requires the auction of the D Block, but it puts at risk existing interoperable communications systems by creating an unfunded mandate to state and local governments to move all 700 MHz narrowband voice communications systems to allow for broadband data services.
The PSA appreciates the strong bipartisan support all the members of Congress that have made this issue one of their top legislative priorities. We urge the Senate to consider S. 911 on the week between Labor Day and the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Passing this legislation is good for our first responders, it is good for the public, and most of all it is good for America. This issue can no longer be put on the sidelines as other priorities are considered. We ask Congress to remember the promise they made 10 years ago when they said, “We will never forget!”
“Congress: Don’t forget our first responders – pass S. 911 NOW!”
For more information on a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, visit www.psafirst.org.
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About Public Safety Alliance
The Public Safety Alliance (www.psafirst.org) is a partnership of the nation's leading public safety associations, which includes the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, the National Emergency Management Association and the National Association of State EMS Officials. The partnership is operated as a program of APCO International.