The Commercial Wireless Industry Is Interfering With First Responder Communications As Well As Critical Efforts To Resolve The Problem

Washington, D.C. – Following a press conference held by Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY), the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) and the United Telecom Council (UTC) on March 17, 2004, Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA) issued the following statement.

“At present, several cellular telephone systems and other commercial uses are interfering with an increased number of 800 MHz public safety communications systems used by firefighters, law enforcement, EMS and state and local agencies. As a result, public safety personnel often experience a degraded or loss of signal in certain geographic locations. To remedy this growing concern, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently reviewing options to cure the life-endangering problem by utilizing new technologies and by permanently realigning the spectrum usage. Despite these efforts, the FCC is receiving considerable resistance from many companies who are primarily concerned with receiving an equitable portion of any benefits that may arise from spectrum relocations”

“It is unfortunate that there are those who are converting this public safety issue into a corporate battle based on bottom lines. When the emergency bell rings, a fully operable and reliable communications system is more valuable than anything listed on a company balance sheet. Therefore, the federal government’s sole priority in this spectrum management issue should be to fulfill its obligations to provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States by equipping our nation’s protectors with the resources they need to safeguard this country.”

“On February 13, 2004, I joined 42 Members of Congress by sending a letter to the FCC requesting that it take permanent and decisive measures to remedy the 800 MHz interference issue. The letter does not endorse any of the individual plans under review by the FCC, however, it calls for a realignment of the intermingled spectrum – the root cause of the interference. The letter also places a paramount requirement that any action taken by the FCC shield public safety agencies from being burdened with the costs of a transition or necessary equipment upgrades.”

Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA), founder of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, a former Volunteer Fire Chief and Member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, has worked to facilitate first responder communications and data interoperability since the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.

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