House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) Recently introduced the FIRST RESPONDER Act. The name is an acronym that stands for: Fee Integrity and Responsibilities and To Regain Essential Spectrum for Public-safety Operators Needed to Deploy Equipment Reliably Act of 2020. The measure ensures first responders have the resources needed to respond to 911 calls and that funding and technologies allocated for 911 infrastructure are used for that purpose.
“In 2012, Congress gave public safety valuable spectrum and billions of dollars to [that] community to launch FirstNet, the national public safety broadband network. While that network is being built out and operated today, it will not be living up to its full potential without a reliable 911 infrastructure to deliver those calls for help,” said Walden.
He noted that consumers pay fees on their monthly phone bills to support 911 infrastructure, but in many cases state politicians divert the money to spend on projects unrelated to public safety. This leads to outdated and failing public safety communications networks, according to the lawmaker.
Walden continued: “Public safety officials have been advocating to repeal a federal mandate to auction off their T-Band spectrum. Those same people should be knocking down the doors of their state governments to make sure that 911 fees are used to support their failing infrastructure.”
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