FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Mike Sturla
Chairman, Democratic Policy Committee
State Rep. Dom Costa
Democratic Policy Committee examines status of narrowband radio implementation in Pa.
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 10 – The House Democratic Policy Committee learned about Pennsylvania’s progress in meeting a federal mandate to convert to narrowband radio at a public hearing today in Sharpsburg, Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster said.
Under the mandate, issued by the Federal Communications Commission, all VHF and UHF public safety and industrial/business land mobile radio licensees must convert their two-way radio systems to at least 12.5 kHz of bandwidth or to an equivalent efficiency by Jan. 1, 2013. Few of Pennsylvania’s counties are in the process or have converted so far; noncompliance could result in the imposition of a monetary fine of $16,000 per day against both the county and the noncompliant first responder in the county.
Due to the potential negative fiscal impact for counties, state Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, who requested and co-chaired the Policy hearing, plans to introduce a resolution strongly urging President Obama and the FCC to delay enforcement action for noncompliance.
“Many of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties are already in financial straits as a result of underfunding in last year’s state budget,” Sturla said. “Today’s Policy hearing considered solutions to the critical task of updating the Commonwealth’s communications infrastructure, while avoiding the imposition of budget- prohibitive fines.”
Costa added, “Due to budgetary limitations, many counties lack the resources to comply with the FCC’s narrowband mandate. I plan to introduce a resolution strongly urging President Obama and the FCC to delay enforcement action for noncompliance, if an entity has started but not fully complied with the narrowband mandate for financial reasons.”
Those testifying at the hearing included Jim Burn, member for District 3, Allegheny County Council; Wesley Hill, chair of Region 13 Task Force, Beaver County; Chief David Laux, president, Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association; Alvin Henderson Jr., acting chief, Allegheny County Department of Emergency Services; and Robert Full, chief deputy director, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.
For more information about the Policy Committee and hearing materials, visit www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee.