In a floor speech on interoperable communications for public safety officials Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), referring to the compromise date of Jan. 1, 2009 date for shutting down analog TV broadcasting, said "Upon introduction, I suggested this date is a compromise between public safety organizations, equipment manufacturers, localities and broadcasters. However, after watching citizens suffer during recovery efforts in New Orleans, I believe this date should be moved up to Jan. 1, 2007, as originally contemplated by Congress in the Telecommunications Act of 1996."
He emphasized first responders needed the spectrum that would be freed by the analog shutdown to allow them to build new communications systems allowing different first responders--police, fire and medical personnel--to talk to each other.
In his speech, Senator McCain quoted Sept. 11 Commission Chairman Kean's comments on CNN's Late Edition last Sunday,"what's frustrating is it's the same thing over again. I mean, how many people have to lose their lives? It's lack of communication, our first responders not being able to talk to each other.... Basically it's many of the things that, frankly, if some of our recommendations had been passed by the United States Congress ... could have been avoided. But on the ground, the people that get there first can't talk to each other because the radio communications don't work. They haven't got enough what's called spectrum. So there is a bill in Congress to provide first responders spectrum. The bill has been sitting in Congress, nothing has been happening, and again, people on the ground--police, fire, medical personnel--couldn't talk to each other. That's outrageous and it's a scandal and I think it cost lives."
You can read the entire speech on Senator John McCain's Web site. Also see Stevens Readies DTV Transition Bill by Molly M. Peterson and Drew Clark at www.NJTelecomUpdate.com.
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