What is often lost in the debate over the fate of the D-Block is the proven reliability of commercial networks. Indeed a great divide exists between the perception by some in the public safety community, who often cast doubt that these networks are dependable enough, and the reality, that more often, it is the commercial network that is the only one left standing.
It was just over five years ago that Hurricane Katrina’s 130 MPH winds and torrential rains paralyzed the Gulf Region, wiping out the public safety communications network at a time when our first responders were needed most. However, while public safety’s network was down, commercial networks proved to be the only communications systems still functioning on the Gulf Coast during Katrina’s landfall. As a result of ample preparation and accommodation for emergencies just like this one, commercial networks played a pivotal role in assisting the response efforts both during and following Hurricane Katrina.
Hurricane Katrina is just a single example. Commercial networks play this role regularly. From the tragic events of 9/11, Hurricane Rita, to the mining disaster in West Virginia, commercial carriers invest significant funds building networks that can withstand our nation’s worst disasters.
The reality is that keeping our first responders connected requires all of the resources and dedication of both public and private stakeholders. Public safety personnel should have multiple communications options in emergencies and disasters. It should never be a zero sum game.
About Us – Connect Public Safety Now, of which RTG is a member, represents a broad-based group of stakeholders working to ensure the construction of a reliable and cost-effective interoperable network for our nation’s first responders and its citizens. Connect Public Safety Now is a call to the FCC, the White House and Congress to protect the public by building the broadband network that public safety needs – now. For more information about Connect Public Safety Now, please visit us at: www.connectpublicsafetynow.org