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Congressman Pushes Emergency Communiations Fund - Broadcasting & Cable

Congressman Pushes Emergency Communiations Fund

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House Telecommunications Subcommittee member Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) used the court-ordered release of tapes of calls to emergency services on 9-11 to push for a fund for emergency communications.

A failure to effectively communicate the danger to emergency workers has been cited in the death of firemen and police officers killed in the collapse of the Twin Towers.

Stupak wants to use some of the proceeds from the auction of reclaimed spectrum to bankroll better communications among police and firemen. To that end, he has pushed a bill creating a Public Safety Communications Trust Fund.

A current FCC auction of some former government spectrum has already topped $10 billion in bids and could reach $15 billion.

The broadcast spectrum could top that, since it is even more conducive to advanced wireless services than the spectrum currently on the block.

"Two years ago, a June 2004 U.S. Conference of Mayors survey on disaster preparedness also found that 80 percent of cities did not have interoperable communications for their first responders," Stupak said in a release championing the fund. "This means we have made no progress in two years and local public safety agencies still do not have radios that can talk to each other."

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