Funding, turf issues stall MS emergency broadband

Mississippi State NewsThe Associated Press

BILOXI, Miss. — Mississippi’s attempt to create the nation’s first statewide emergency broadband network has come to a halt.

The Sun Herald reports that the state’s Wireless Communications Commission voted last week to freeze construction on the $56 million project, which is nearly 80 percent complete.

Police chiefs across the state are beginning a grass-roots lobbying campaign for the network. The newspaper reports that firefighters are likely to join.

The problems are complicated.

Some federal money won’t be released until states lease a specific part of the broadband spectrum. Those talks are underway.

Then there’s state money. The Legislature appropriated less than half the money the commission asked for — and the $6 million it got is all dedicated to a separate radio network.

___

Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com