ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Karmol Testifies Before California State Senators on Public Safety Radio Interoperability

New York, May 19, 2003

“Voluntary standardization not only makes public safety radio interoperability possible, it makes it affordable,” explained David Karmol, ANSI vice-president of public policy and government affairs, in testimony before a California State Senate Joint Hearing on May 16.

The hearing, which was held in Los Angeles, provided the venue for Karmol to explain the role that voluntary standards play in meeting the needs of first responders and issues related to the interoperability of public safety radio equipment. Written testimony was also supplied by Dan Bart, senior vice-president for standards and special projects at the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA).

Both the ANSI and TIA testimonies noted that standards support interoperable communications between systems. Mr. Bart explained that his organization has worked with the public safety community for many years to create standards for such equipment. California and several other states have either adopted or are now considering legislation that references TIA American National Standards for public safety radio equipment.

The ANSI testimony also referenced the partnership between the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) – also an ANSI member organization and accredited standards developer – and the National Communications Service to deal with the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS). The project for wireline services and the special “710” access code was cited as an example of success; a similar service is also being developed for wireless priority access service.

The testimonies further noted that use of voluntary consensus standards (including many of those that are also American National Standards) allows more competitive procurements. Mr. Karmol cited several other benefits of government reference to voluntary consensus standards, such as:

    The inclusion of state-of-the-art industry practices in state practices or procurement specifications

    An easing of the burden of compliance on industry (reducing costs which can be passed along to government purchasers) and more efficient procurement, since both industry and government officials are involved in the development of the standards

    Cheaper procurement, since the standard allows purchase of products produced and sold by multiple manufacturers

    Compliance with standards recognized by the Department of Homeland Security – which will be a pre-requisite to receiving monies from the federal funds that are now beginning to flow for first responder equipment

Mr. Karmol concluded his testimony by offering the Institute’s assistance – and that of its accredited standards developing organizations – in addressing the issue of public safety wireless interoperability. He also introduced the California senators to the ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) and invited representatives of state and local governments to participate in the activity.

View the ANSI testimony

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