Federal Communications Commission

One Year Later

March 16th, 2011 by Jamie Barnett - Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

Last year, the Federal Communications Commission developed and released the National Broadband Plan (the Plan) to ensure that every American has “access to broadband capability.” A section of the Plan included a detailed strategy for achieving maximum use of broadband to advance public safety communications. One year later, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) has been working hard promoting public safety wireless broadband communications, encouraging the development and deployment of Next Generation 911 networks, and protecting and preserving critical broadband infrastructure. March 17, 2011 marks the one year anniversary of the Plan and we wanted to share with you the specifics of what we have accomplished and how we plan to further enhance broadband communications for public safety.

Promoting Public Safety Wireless Broadband Communication
One of the Bureau’s primary responsibilities is establishing the technical and operational framework for an interoperable public safety broadband wireless network. We want police officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical personnel to be there when you need them the most and to have access to state-of-the art digital broadband communications.  While first responders have traditionally been limited to using the traditional “walkie talkie” radios that you see them with now, we want them to have tablets and smartphones that will provide them with  instant access to information and enable them to respond more effectively to emergencies —anywhere, anytime. But in order for them to do that, we need to create the technical guidance so that the broadband technology they need will be available.  .

Last April, the Commission created the Emergency Response Interoperability Center, which is charged with drafting the technical and operational framework for public safety broadband wireless networks. The Commission took an important step towards implementation of such a framework in January, when it adopted an Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on public safety broadband network interoperability. In this item, we set the initial requirements of the network and are seeking public comment on additional critical issues. 

Developing and Deploying Next Generation 911 Networks
Today, approximately 70% of all 911 calls are made from mobile hand-held devices. However, most 911 call centers are not currently equipped to receive text messages, e-mail, video, or photos—dominant modes of communications for many mobile users.

To address this problem, we have initiated a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to explore how to bring Next Generation 911 services to consumers and first responders that will enable the public to obtain emergency assistance by means of advanced communications technologies beyond traditional voice-centric devices. Although location accuracy requirements were not part of the Plan, we have also adopted an Order that requires wireless carriers to provide data on each 911 call made on mobile devices which will improve the ability of public safety personnel to assess the accuracy of location information to further support public safety. This will help emergency response personnel reach you sooner in the event of an emergency.

Protecting and Preserving Broadband Communications
You should be able to make and receive calls at home or on your wireless device in the event of an emergency. That is why we are actively working with Congress and the Department of Homeland Security to preserve broadband communications during emergencies, including wireless mobile infrastructure and fixed satellite service.

We have begun an inquiry proceeding, on network resiliency and preparedness that would identify the problems and survivability of commercial broadband networks. While this NOI focuses on commercial broadband communications, we are also addressing the critical sectors of our nation, the non-commercial broadband networks that are utilized by public safety, utilities, state and federal entities which all work to help you.

4 Responses to “One Year Later”

  1. Guest says:

    Live in Albany County, NY -26 miles from the Capital of the state yet i cannot get service. Currently paying for resd. telephone, wireless for job (Realtor) and cannot get rid of resd. service because the wireless is so... sketchy. In addition Direct TV, AOL dial up and most recently MiFi via ATT w/only 5G usage for add'l $50.00 month and fee of 10.00 per gig over the 5, and a two year contract! Full cost for communications is approx. 370.00 a month. Verizon has promised serv. for 12 years now (combined wireless/dsl) and Cable (Mid Hudson) is just below me on same road and above me about 3/4 mi and WILL NOT RUN CABLE TO CLOSE GAP. I contacted them again and I was told to wait a couple of wks for response via Mr. Dave Finger. I also contacted Time Warner Cable, NYAIR, etc. This is a burden for my entire community for safety, health, and of course education. My daughter drives to a neighbors home at night and sits in the dark on her laptop for service in order to participate ON LINE w/blogging, etc. which is mandatory for her courses in the IB Progam at Greenville HS. IB = International Bachlorette. Further because she has no room in her schedule I have recently signed/payed for her to take mandatory Health online over the summer which again, will require her to go OUT OF THE HOME to a facility, hot spot, etc. in order to complete the course. This is JUST RIDICULOUS.

    Lastly I would like to know who, if any received grants in my area that ARE NOT providing service. Is it legal for these companies to just by-pass some areas, strips, yet utilize telephone poles that have R-O-W, accessing private properties for their services and deny those allowing access services?

    Help, desperate for AFFORDABLE SERVICE where we can pkg most costs with UNLIMITED usage. This is becoming very costly, we are retired on a fixed income, and the service we currently have is not up to par ie; speeds, clarity on tv, radio, drop calls, etc.

    Thank you for allowing me to vent...I cannot tell you the daily frustration of trying to keep up with the rest of the world and again for emergency services; nationally, locally, & health related we are among the lost.


  2. Guest says:

    So...... What about expanding broadband to unserved areas? I dont have access to either DSL or cable. All im using is my cricket usb modem but even then it has a 7.5 GB cap, Cost $60 a month and download speeds of 350kbps. Are you guys going to help me out get cable or DSL or am I screwed?

  3. Ray says:

    This is strange that the Plan originally was based on the INTERNET for EVERYONE PLAN. Yet that seems to be lost somewhere in the Plan. Why so much promotion, and really there has been no action. Is this Plan still dead? Is the whole Plan effective yet? Where are we?

  4. Ernestine Washington says:

    I would l to talk to some one about the Broadband network that is very terrible in New Carrollton MD zip code (20784) I am drop call QUEEN with my Cell phone which is T mobile.My Broadband Connection with the internet
    SUCKS T-Mobile of course i waste more time trying to loge on I get internet explore cannot open this web page more than i want to see this on my screen.I had call t-mobile to complain i was told that the reception in my area is a problem...
    I am NOT satify with t-molibe they need another tower in New Carrollton & i was told they are not going to do anything to improve the problem. And i have to keep paying them for this service. And i have to go some where else to get the service that is needed...I will do so.. I am unemployed and i dont think i should have to go to Comcast to get my computer working like it should be. I have express my dissafication withT-Mobile about this service, and i told them they are leaving me no choice to go to Comcast and they told me i would be charge with disconnection fee.In the beginning i thought it was my computer so i had an IT guy check it out and come to find out it is the reception that is in my area that is a problem and they are not going to address it..That is just
    wrong... I
    I need an answer when a company is sold why is it that we do not have the option to go some where else for service without having to pay a disconection fee....I Think we as Consumers should have that right and why not? My telephone # is (301)318-9271 i would like to hear from some one PLEASE!!!!!!!

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