President Obama's call for establishing a high-speed wireless broadband network for public safety has the endorsement of the Fairfax, Va.-based International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). Under Obama's plan, pending Congressional approval, a specific bandwidth of wireless service would be set aside exclusively for use by firefighters, police and other first responders, a plan IAFC has been lobbying for.

The president's plan includes allocating the D Block in the 700 MHz band of spectrum to public safety, according to a fact sheet that the White House-issued in February on the Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative. Allocating the D Block to public safety is an important component in the development of a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders, according to IAFC. "The events of both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the importance of public-safety communications systems that are resilient and both operable and interoperable," said Chief Jack Parow, IAFC president and chairman of the board, in a statement. "We believe that a public-safety broadband network is vital for future, effective emergency response operations, and we urge Congress to pass legislation this year."

IAFC also is calling for high-speed wireless services for first responders in rural areas so they can be online in those response areas and to allow residents to report emergencies to 911. Read the IAFC statement and President Obama's fact sheet on the Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative.

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