Law enforcement officials say it’s time for the communications industry or the Federal Government to do something about skyrocketing demand on the overburdened radio frequencies used to field emergency calls, a situation said to imperil agencies’ ability to communicate in times of crisis.
While the communications industry has experienced enormous growth in recent years, fueled by the explosion in information technology, the industry has not addressed the problem, which some officials say is reaching crisis proportions.
Part of the blame for the frequency shortage lies with the Federal Government, which sparked demand by auctioning off frequencies on the radio spectrum to commercial bidders. Public safety agencies would like to stake new claims to several areas of the spectrum, including the one where they were first assigned frequencies.
They’d also like expanded access to higher bands, including those now allocated to UHF television transmissions. Some of the frequencies sought by public safety agencies are in far-higher regions of the band, near some that have been sold by the FCC for new personal communications services.