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Building a Nationwide, Interoperable Broadband Network for our First Responders

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In February 2012, Congress passed and the President signed into law, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which includes provisions to create America’s first nationwide, interoperable public safety communications network and appropriates significant funding for Next Generation 9-1-1 technology.


In February 2012, Congress passed and the President signed into law, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which includes provisions to create America’s first nationwide, interoperable public safety communications network and appropriates significant funding for Next Generation 9-1-1 technology.

Creating a public safety network was a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission Report published in 2004. The Report identified that a lack of interoperable communications between first responders at the World Trade Center hampered emergency response efforts and may have cost many lives. The recently enacted public safety provisions, which Rep. Eshoo championed, address the need for enhanced and more reliable communications capabilities. The nation’s first responders from local to federal levels will soon have the critical interoperable airwaves needed to effectively communicate in the event of an emergency.

The new law also provides $115 million in grants to state and local public safety entities to support implementation and operation of 9-1-1 services, including migration to Next Generation 9-1-1. This improved system will enable the delivery of text messages, pictures, and video to 9-1-1 call centers across the country. In 2011, Reps. Eshoo and Shimkus introduced H.R. 2629, the Next Generation 9-1-1 Advancement Act of 2011, which called for this funding and became part of the overarching law.

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