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California Preps For Public Safety Broadband Network


It’s the final standing recommendation from the 9-11 Commission: Create a nationwide broadband network for public safety personnel.

Cell phone use spikes during emergencies, and that jams up the airwaves. That’s why Congress has set aside a dedicated spectrum for a high-speed wireless, broadband data network especially for public safety personnel. It’s known as FirstNet.

Karen Wong with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services says California has a lot of work to do to ensure it can connect to FirstNet.

“We have very highly populated areas, we have very rural areas, we have 111 tribes. So it’s incumbent on us to make sure that they know the demographics and the topology and the geography of California – on some of the challenges of bringing a network out,” Wong says.

Wong’s office is meeting with local and tribal public safety agencies throughout the state to figure out how they would need FirstNet to work. It’s expected to take the better part of a decade to get the network fully up and running.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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