In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Congress reaffirmed its concern regarding the availability of spectrum to meet the wireless communications needs for public service agencies. Several important policy decisions that would increase the amount and efficiency of spectrum used by first responders and other public safety organizations are under consideration by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The manner in which the spectrum is allocated is also important and this is illustrated, for example, in the problem of interference to public safety communications. Interoperability --- the ability to communicate effectively among all wireless networks used for public safety --- depends both on spectrum and technology. The FCC announced in February 2002 that it would allocate new spectrum for public safety broadband. This report focuses on key proposals for improving wireless telecommunications for public safety and recent actions to achieve this goal.
CRS Report for Congress, RL31375