Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) released the following statement today in response to a fiscally responsible and credible plan by Senators John (Jay) Rockefeller (D-WV) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) to release more spectrum for commercial broadband and make interoperable and robust communications among first responders possible nationwide with the creation of a national public safety broadband network.
"The attacks on September 11, 2001 tragically illustrated how difficult it can be for our first responders to communicate with each other in the face of disaster. For a decade, we've been trying to figure out how best to fix this problem and today Chairman Rockefeller and Senator Hutchison laid out a thoughtful proposal for creating a national public safety broadband network -- funded through the release and auction of unused spectrum -- which deserves our full support.
"With this latest draft, they have addressed the hard questions of how to fund and manage a national, robust network while reducing the deficit. This plan would move us toward a more efficient and productive spectrum management system and unleash unused spectrum for commercial purposes. It makes public safety the top priority by putting the spectrum license in question under the public safety community's control. By managing the spectrum's use and the deployment of the network through a central organization accountable to the American people, this plan also ensures that a single standard and resources are dispersed throughout the country in rural and urban communities alike. And by authorizing incentive auctions and new efficiency incentives into spectrum management, we will move toward reaping the greatest national return from this national asset. This bill deserves swift consideration and we should pass it and get it to the President to sign into law before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It's the least we can do to honor the fallen first responders and the sacrifice they made."