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White House Meeting On Spectrum Bill

[press release]

WHITE HOUSE, V.P. BIDEN HIGHLIGHTS PUBLIC SAFETY BROADBAND

PSA Calls on House, Senate to Act and Send Bill to President to sign before 10th Anniversary of 9/11

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 16, 2011 – Leaders of the Public Safety Alliance (PSA) join today with Vice President Joe Biden, senior staff of the Departments of Homeland Security, Commerce and Justice, representatives from almost two dozen “early deployers” of state and local agencies, and other stakeholders at a White House discussion on public safety broadband. This White House hosted discussion takes place a week after Chairman John “Jay” Rockefeller, IV and Ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison successfully led the Senate Commerce Committee in reporting out an overwhelming, bipartisan bill, S.911: the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act of 2011, that allocates D block to public safety and provides significant federal funding to build out and sustain a nationwide, interoperable and mission-critical public safety broadband network.

“We applaud the Administration for making this a top priority. We thank Vice President Biden, Secretary Napolitano, Attorney General Holder and the entire Obama Administration for their continued leadership and support in helping our nation’s first responders to secure the tools necessary to best do their job,” stated PSA spokesman Chief Jeff Johnson, “We ask Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell to bring this overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation, S.911, to the floor of the Senate before leaving for the August recess, and we ask the House Energy and Commerce Committee to either introduce their own bill or take up H.R. 607 immediately.”

Nearly 10 years ago, police, firefighters and EMS workers lost their lives because of inadequate public safety communications networks during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In March, the chairmen of the 9/11 Commission announced their support for the policy that would finally advance the allocation of the D Block spectrum with funding to public safety – a key 9/11 Commission Report recommendation.

Among the original twenty-one state and local jurisdictions that were granted waiver requests in June, 2010 to begin to plan and build out public safety broadband systems on the 10 MHz already provided to the current public safety broadband licensee, there are several deploying the first public safety broadband systems this year. Leaders of these jurisdictions were also be on-hand at today’s White House discussion. For more information on a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, visit www.psafirst.org.