Emergency broadband project halted - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Emergency broadband project halted

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The state and the feds can't agree on how to move forward with the project. The state and the feds can't agree on how to move forward with the project.
Robert Latham is also the Executive Director of the Mississippi Wireless Communication Commission. Robert Latham is also the Executive Director of the Mississippi Wireless Communication Commission.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The state's trying to save more lives quicker than ever. They want to add another life-line by implementing a broadband service for first responders to share information.

"We've got the ability to communicate on a day to day basis," said Mississippi Emergency Management Director Robert Latham. "It's just that the data network gives us the capability that we don't have right now."

But now there's a problem. The state and the feds can't agree on how to move forward with the project. Mississippi's already spent 45 million in grant money to buy the equipment and install some of it.

"Need to make sure that the data is as mobile as the individual is and that's true for the first responders that we can access the information on the scene without having to relay back to a central point," explained Latham who is also the Executive Director of the Mississippi Wireless Communication Commission.

Some of the bare bones of the system are already in place. The state installed a radio system after Hurricane Katrina that can be accessed across the state. Still, the state would need federal funds to make broadband transfers happen. That's why the state's Wireless Communication Commission has a message for the feds.

"The system you're building out nationally will have to reside on our towers which we paid for and invested in. So the operations and maintenance that are recurring, you should pay a part of," said Latham.

The state doesn't know how long it could be before an agreement is reached. State leaders say they've done their part now they want to see the feds put its money where its mouth is.

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