Frankly, I am no big fan of Reed Hundt, former FCC commish who I think was one of the many so called smart people responsible for the late 1990s telecom mess. But I find hard to argue with him, when he says that our emergency communications infrastructure stinks. “The United States today has no system in place that allows emergency response personnel to communicate reliably and effectively in a crisis,” he writes in an essay. A lot of smart folks here, here and here have response to his suggestions, and I think we really need to listen to Hundt this time around. He is making very very very valid points. This is not about VoIP calls or some crap like that. Its a bigger issue, which needs to be addressed right away.
2 thoughts on “We need a better communications System for Emergency Workers”
Well let’s just say the FCC and Congress have not learned a thing since 9-11. Just way to busy worrying about how to keep the big-ass BOC’s in the money and giving them everything they need to kill off the competitive market, of WHICH HAD THE ACCESS TO THE NETWORKS GIVEN TO THEM BY THE TELCOM ACT – 96, I do believe we would have greater and farther reaching communications than we have know.
Think about it, if we continue leave it all up to the BOC’s for homeland security communication issues, one could just expect the same crap over and over again.
I think the real problem is this insistance on having separate networks. If everyone is building their own single purpose network, there will never be any economies of scales. The $15B+ the Department of Homeland Security expects to pay to build a brand new nationwide network would be better spent on a contract with existing carriers to upgrade the capacity and reliability of existing networks. That way, consumers would benefit from access to more robust networks during times of non-emergency. That said, I don’t know if existing carriers are even ameanable to such a deal, as they have turned down smaller scale offers from local and state governments in the past. Excessive need for control is a personality defect in individuals, corporations, and governments.