Motorola Urges Passage of Digital Television Transition Hard Date
<PR, Thursday October 20, 3:00 pm ET>
First Responders Need Congressional Action Sooner Rather than Later for Radio Frequencies and Interoperable Communications Network to Protect People and Save Lives
WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT - News) continues to press Congress to take action now to ensure much-needed improvements to our nation's emergency communications infrastructure in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and with Hurricane Wilma threatening the Florida Keys.
The Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee today is expected to mark-up legislation setting a digital television (DTV) transition "hard date" of April 7, 2009. This action is critical to ensure television broadcasters move from analog to digital TV services for consumers. This move not only enhances TV services but frees up critical 700 MHz spectrum for America's first responders. A top priority for Motorola and the first responder community is clearing this 700 MHz radio frequency spectrum space and fully funding interoperable communications equipment capabilities. Motorola is the world's leading provider of mission critical wireless communications for public safety officials.
Motorola's Senior Director of Congressional Operations, Bill Anaya, made the following statement: "Americans know well that disasters can strike at any moment. First responders deserve the best advanced, interoperable communications tools so they can protect our hometowns. And with innovative solutions on the market, police, fire, and emergency medical professionals should not have to wait any longer to be able to communicate with one another during an emergency. Today, Senators (Ted) Stevens and (Daniel) Inouye are working to ensure critical frequencies are opened up for public safety officials. Our nation's first responders need this sooner, rather than later, to save lives, including their own.
Anaya added Congress must enact a DTV transition hard date before it recesses in 2005: "Once broadcasters make the move, our nation's first responders can achieve improved interoperability and be able to communicate with one another day to day and during the next emergency." In 1997, Congress told the Federal Communications Commission to allocate 700 MHz spectrum for public safety use and declared it should be usable by December 31, 2006. However, an open loophole remains that allows TV stations to block public safety access until an 85% digital TV penetration test is met across the country.
"If we've learned anything since 9/11 and the recent hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, the question isn't will we get hit, rather when will the next disaster strike? Congress should take the necessary steps now to best prepare our first responders by ending the DTV transition and investing in interoperability tools," Anaya continued.
True, Interoperable Networks
True Interoperability provides direct communication between first responders using a standards-based, digital network. It is a thorough, well- planned approach that enhances daily operations, and during a major incident, allows instant communication between all agencies and jurisdictions that respond. True Interoperability is based on the user-developed Project 25 (P25) standard, which is the most commonly deployed radio standard in the world.
The impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast region has become the largest single disaster recovery effort in Motorola's 77-year history. While most of Motorola's public safety customers were up and running in some form within 48 hours of Katrina, many law enforcement and relief agencies could not communicate with one another during recovery efforts because their networks were not interoperable.
Clearing 700 MHz to Give First Responders Additional Spectrum
Congressional action is necessary to free up more frequency spectrum (specifically 700 MHz) on which interoperable networks can operate securely and privately. Access to this spectrum is critical to public safety to achieve interoperability among agencies, alleviate dangerous radio communications congestion, and implement high-speed data, imaging and video solutions for first responders. http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/051020/cgth052.html?.v=31