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H. R. 5081 Advertising

I was downtown today and picked up copies of 2 local “rags” that focus on politics: The Hill and Politico. They both had the same full 1 page ad from the National Sheriffs’ Association that is shown at left, complete with a 9/11 picture of heroic firemen - not sheriff’s deputies. The ad urges readers to support HR 5081, the”Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010”. The ad states,

On 1/23/10, the NSA adopted a Resolution calling on Congress to oppose the FCC’s plan to outsource police communications to a private carrier. The safety of America is too important to privatize to companies more interested in profit than ensuring state-of-the-art public safety communications. History has shown that commercial networks have not provided the level of service necessary in times of need for public safety during critical events.


What is surprising is that if this is so vital to National Sheriffs’ Association, why isn’t the issue even mentioned on the home page of their website? APCO seems to also be in favor of HR 5081, but they at least have a cryptic link to the issue on their home page.

Now for the statement “History has shown that commercial networks have not provided the level of service necessary in times of need for public safety during critical events”, could this NSA and APCO please tell us what they think of the UK experience where a privately operated system provides all public safety communications in the UK and was built under contract with private funding and annual service fees from public safety users?

I know that APCO and others have vilified the TETRA technology used by Airwave for decades, quite possibly at the behest of a major manufacturer whose public safety market share would be threatened by TETRA, but TETRA is now a dead issue in the US for a variety of reasons.

Why do privately operated systems work in the UK but are impossible here? Do the grass root members of both APCO and this NSA actually support this position or is it mainly supported by certain corporate interests?
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