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Rockefeller, Hutchison Introduce PSIC Bill

Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WVA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex) have jointly introduced a bill to extend the Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) grant program.

That is the program that funds state efforts to provide interoperable equipment and training, and the legislators want to make sure they have the money to deploy projects in the works.

"States should be granted the time and funds necessary to update public safety communications systems and make certain communities all across America are secure,” said Rockefeller. "One of the most important goals of the DTV transition was to boost the interoperable emergency communications for America’s public safety community, this legislation will help make that possible,” said Hutchison.

One of the byproducts of the move to digital was freeing up spectrum for first responder communications.

On the national emergency communications front, the FCC has yet to come up with a plan for reactioning spectrum that was to be used for a public-private national interoperable emergency communications network, but FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told legislators at a House FCC oversight hearing that such a plan would be part of the National Broadband Plan being delivered to Congress Feb. 17, 2010.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday (Sept. 24) on "recent developments" regarding that national interoperable network.