Commerce Helps NTIA Spend Emergency Bucks

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Senate Commerce Committee Chairmen Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) have introduced a bill to give the National Telecommunications & Information Administration more direction on how to spend $1 billion that was appropriated for emergency communications.

The grants are to help police, fire and medical personnel better communicate in times of disaster, a response to the communications problems during 9/11.

The money has to be distributed by Sept. 30, 2007. “The Congress must act quickly to give our first responders the tools they need to effectively do their jobs,” said Inouye.

Emergency communications problems have been cited by legislators pushing for broadcasters to vacate their analog spectrum as quickly as possible so that it can be reclaimed for other uses.