Quick Study

By Brian Robinson

Blog archive

U.S. first responder communications still a mess

Among all of the stories about Twitter and Facebook affecting the response to the Haiti earthquake, here’s a sobering reminder of how basic interoperable communications among first responders in the U.S. is still a myth, a problem that should have been sorted out a long time ago.

In an op-ed in The Hill retired Navy Rear Adm. Jamie Barnett points out that if a similar earthquake were to strike the United States, we’d be in a parlous situation. Decades after the fact was pointed out, and despite all of the public breast-beating that’s been spent on the issue, the U.S. is still without a public safety broadband wireless network.

And that’s even after the tragedies of the 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina glaringly illustrated the disastrous consequences of the lack of such communications.

Representatives of America’s public safety officials recently visited Congress to push for more spectrum that could be used to create a national public safety network. Once again, however, they are up against commercial interests who are lobbying for public spectrum to be allocated to them to relieve them of the squeeze on their networks.

Barnett know whereof he speaks, by the way: He’s the Federal Communications Commission’s chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. The FCC has been conducting a series of broad-ranging hearings on how to improve U.S. broadband communications.

Posted by Brian Robinson on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:19 PM


Rising Stars

Meet 21 early-career leaders who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock imag (by Benjamin Haas): cyber coded team.

    What keeps govtech leaders up at night?

    A joint survey by Grant Thornton and PSC found that IT stakeholders in government fear their own employees and outdated systems the most when it comes to cybersecurity.

  • SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

    SEC owns up to 2016 breach

    A key database of financial information was breached in 2016, possibly in support of insider trading, said the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DOD looks to get aggressive about cloud adoption

    Defense leaders and Congress are looking to encourage more aggressive cloud policies and prod reluctant agencies to embrace experimentation and risk-taking.

  • Shutterstock / Pictofigo

    The next big thing in IT procurement

    Steve Kelman talks to the agencies that have embraced tech demos in their acquisition efforts -- and urges others in government to give it a try.

  • broken lock

    DHS bans Kaspersky from federal systems

    The Department of Homeland Security banned the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab’s products from federal agencies in a new binding operational directive.

  • man planning layoffs

    USDA looks to cut CIOs as part of reorg

    The Department of Agriculture is looking to cut down on the number of agency CIOs in the name of efficiency and better communication across mission areas.

Reader comments

Mon, Jan 25, 2010

That's what you get when the vendors are in the driver seat. With the adoption of TETRA, we would have been years further along. Adding to the calamity, the cost of building out broadband vs. LMR infrastructure is prohibitive. It's not only the spectrum, it's the capacity that needs to be put on the ground, that would exceed one order of magnitude beyond an LMR buildout. Great again for the vendors to push equipment, assuming you can find someone to foot the bill.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group