FCC establishes interoperability center for public safety

Commission also releases details on $12B public safety network

The Federal Communications Commission has created an Emergency Response Interoperability Center to support its plans for a national broadband network for first responders.

The center, which will operate under the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, will lead development of a framework for interoperable public safety communications, FCC officials said April 23.

Last month, the FCC released its National Broadband Plan, which outlines how broadband services will be developed in rural and other hard-to-reach areas. The plan includes establishing a network for public safety communications.

The new center will support the FCC’s plans to create a broadband network for public safety that is expected to cost $12 billion to $16 billion. The network would operate as part of a commercial network that would give priority to first responders during an emergency. However, the National Governors Association objected to aspects of the proposal and urged instead that the D block of the 700 MHz spectrum be allocated solely for public safety.

The FCC released more details on its public safety communications plan in the report "A Broadband Network Cost Model” published April 23.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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