Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

59 Federal Communications Law Journal 493 (2007)


Symposium: The Crisis in Public Safety Communications. Held at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, December 8, 2006.

A number of disasters over the last two decades have demonstrated the dire consequences that occur when first responders are unable to communicate due to interoperability of their communications equipment. Each such disaster is followed by a strong reaction from the Federal government, promising immediate action, often with plans to deploy the latest technology. In fact, nothing has ever actually happened at the Federal level to solve first responders' interoperability problem. As I show using a case study from Delaware, states have stepped into the breach and provided fully interoperable systems using technology that is twenty years old. While the Federal government has made much political noise about the problem and its role in fixing it, it is the states that are quietly getting the job done.