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Federal Communications Commission
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Washington, D.C. 20554
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Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

For Immediate Release
August 10, 1998

Contact: Helen G. Hillegass

Tristani Discusses New Public Safety Spectrum,
Praises Work of Our Nation's First Responders

Washington, D.C. -- Today Federal Communications Commissioner Gloria Tristani addressed the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials at the 64th Annual Conference held in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Convention Center.

Commissioner Tristani's speech emphasized the need to improve access to the radio spectrum to facilitate communication among law enforcement, fire, emergency medical, and other public safety officers. Focusing on the FCC's action of last Thursday, August 6, 1998, Commissioner Tristani discussed the licensing of an additional 24 MHz of public safety radio spectrum. This move by the FCC doubles current radio allocations for public safety.

After noting several tragedies which might have been averted if first responders had had access to better communication and coordination, Commissioner Tristani stated, "The safety of life and property often cling to a thin thread -- the thread of a consistent, accurate and reliable communication system. Such a system must be built from the building blocks of adequate resources and of standardized tools and procedures."

"I know that public safety community has identified three critical issues in the area of spectrum: insufficient frequencies overall; the need for interoperability among diverse agencies and jurisdictions; and the need for future flexibility to avail yourselves of new developments in technology," Tristani said. "Our service and licensing rules for this new 24 MHz will give you tools to meet these needs."

Commissioner Tristani also noted: "The [Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials] . . . has a history of pulling the laboring oar. . . . So, you are the ones to pick up that oar yet again -- to take this [spectrum] band and make sure that it is put to use for the benefit of all Americans."

Speaking about the conference itself, Tristani noted: "This conference has been a wonderful opportunity to hear from public safety officials from around the country. Public safety officers take risks and make sacrifices each and every day. We owe these individuals not only a debt of gratitude, but also the tools they need to do their work as safely, and successfully, as possible."

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