iCERT Urges Congress to Pass Legislation Including NG 9-1-1 Funding
Wednesday, October 26, 2022 | Comments

In a letter, the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT) urged members of Congress to pass legislation.

In the letter to key congressional leaders, iCERT said that NG 9-1-1 legislation should ensure the implementation is technologically and competitively neutral, implementations use commonly accepted standards to promote interoperability, ensures that NG 9-1-1 implementations have effective cybersecurity, establishes a grant process to promote efficiency and be guided by an advisory board of public-safety practitioners and 9-1-1 professionals.

iCERT said that it thinks the Spectrum Innovation Act, which the House of Representatives passed in July. That act would have required the FCC to auction the 3.1 – 3.45 GHz band. The proceeds would then be used to first help fund reimbursements for carriers that need to replace network equipment identified as posing a national security risk. The remaining funds would then go to fund NG 9-1-1 with a cap of $10 billion.

“The act, which had strong bipartisan support, combines important spectrum and funding provisions to address two critical national objectives: (1) ensuring the continued growth of advanced wireless services; and (2) ensuring implementation of effective, reliable, and resilient emergency response communications,” iCERT said in the letter.

iCERT urged the Senate to pass the legislation but said it also supports two additions the Public Safety NG 9-1-1 Coalition suggested in a letter to Congress.

“First, the legislation should provide sufficient funding to ensure that all areas of the country are fully implemented. Based on available cost estimates, iCERT believes that an additional $15 billion is required to achieve full nationwide deployment of NG9-1-1,” the letter said. “Second, funding must start to become available within the next few years. While iCERT understands the challenges associated with funding NG 9-1-1 through future spectrum auctions, there are significant risks in further delaying the deployment of NG 9-1-1. Consequently, as the coalition recommends, we urge the Senate to include borrowing authority provisions in the bill that would allow NG 9-1-1 grant funding to begin prior to completion of the requisite auctions.”

iCERT said it was critical for Congress to take action to provide first responders with the tools they need to protect the public.

“Our nation’s emergency response systems are vital to public safety, and our communities deserve the most advanced systems possible,” the letter said. “Anything less places the public, our communities, and our nation at risk. iCERT urges you to work with your colleagues in Congress to act promptly to pass legislation that would provide critical funding for NG 9-1-1.”

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