This new year is 2011 and September will bring us to the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. There could be no greater tribute to the rescuers who died in the Twin Towers than to provide their successors today—paramedics, police and firefighters—with the means of a unified emergency communication system that has been long in the planning. Slade Gordon, a former U.S. senator from Washington and a member of the 9/11 Commission, writes in The Seattle Times of the need for Congress to approve the plan for such a system.
"The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)," Gordon writes, "has crafted a realistic plan to auction the 700 MHz D-Block for public safety to a commercial wireless carrier. The current FCC plan would help build a state-of-the-art network for public-safety officials, who currently struggle with disparate abilities to communicate over mismatched equipment."
That needs to be fixed. There is opposition to the FCC's plan because it would rely on a commercial company as the backbone carrier, rather than "reallocating the D-Block directly to public-safety officials."
But with the pressures to perform that would be on the commercial carrier, can you picture what it would be like to have emergency responders to depend for their communication system on funding from the vastly overcommitted FederalTreasury? Here's a need that a divided Congress with, presumably, a unifying concern for public safety should readily be able to agree on.