Regional public safety broadband network on hold

The proposed $100 million regional public safety broadband network to link Bay Area first responders has been put on hold.

In Feburary, the Board of Supervisors voted to include San Francisco in the BayWEB network, to be built by Motorola. The program would provide emergency responders with smartphones and computers for easier communication during disasters. Oakland, San Jose and Santa Clara County all expressed concern about the project’s costs.

A federal grant was to pay for more than half of the project, but San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management indicated in a May 16 memo that the federal government had partially suspended funding. Shortly after San Francisco’s approval, Congress passed a law calling for the creation of a new nationwide public safety communications network.

The federal government then asked the seven such nationwide projects set to receive federal funding to slow their projects until new federal standards are set, the memo said.

Federal officials are now seeking an extension of the original August 2013 deadline to complete BayWEB.

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