The House took up a bill yesterday to devote a section of the broadband radio spectrum to first responders in an effort to solve a problem that turned tragic on 9/11 when police and firefighters couldn't communicate.
"We're ecstatic," NYPD Deputy Chief Charles Dowd said of improvements offered by the bill sponsored by Reps. Pete King (R-N.Y.), top GOPer on the House Homeland Security Committee, and Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn).
"The main stumbling block for decades has been that everbody was on different radio frequencies," Dowd said. "Now we'll get everybody on the same spectrum."
Under the bill, a block of the broadband spectrum will be devoted to public safety use and give first responders "in-building penetration" to communicate with voice, video and date for the first time, King said.
"This legislation will allow law enforcement to securely exchange critical information in real-time," Clark said.
House officials said the bill only addresses the broadband allocation and does not cover the expense of new equipment that first repsonders would need. "We're still hopeful Congress will allocate the money," Dowd said.