Rivada Mercury: 72% Would Give Cellphone Reception to Public Safety
Tuesday, October 11, 2016 | Comments

Rivada Mercury announced the results of a survey that company officials said found that 72 percent of respondents would be willing to give up their cellphone reception to first responders, and a majority (63 percent) said first responders should get access to communications before the public.

More than half said they’d let wireless companies block subscribers from their networks to help first responders communicate, Rivada said.

The survey also found that only 13 percent of Americans are prepared to survive without government assistance for more than a few days in the event of a major natural disaster or attack. After major earthquakes and floods, it can take weeks to restore basic services, such as food, aid, and shelter. The survey found 47 percent of respondents are prepared to sustain themselves through an emergency for a few days.

Half of those surveyed believe law enforcement, firefighters and EMS professionals benefit from technology similar to commercial wireless subscribers, and 74 percent believe government agencies can rapidly respond to catastrophic emergencies.

“Americans clearly expect our first responders to have the best technology available to them, but they also understand the need to prioritize public-safety traffic in the event of an emergency,” said Joe Euteneuer, CEO, Rivada Mercury. “Overall, the survey results are encouraging for public safety as they demonstrate that consumers are comfortable with sharing a network on a sub-priority basis.”

Rivada Mercury, a consortium of companies including Rivada Networks and Harris, is among the bidders of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) request for proposals (RFP) set to be awarded in November. But according to the survey, only 11 percent of Americans know about the federal government’s plan for a nationwide public-safety network.

While opinions on who should manage allocating bandwidth to first responders in disaster situations were evenly split between federal government and mobile-phone companies, 43 percent would place greater trust in a new network designed specifically for first responders versus the 32 percent that would choose existing mobile-phone companies. Nearly one-third of those surveyed would feel unsafe if such a network were solely in the hands of a commercial provider.

More than 500 U.S. residents ages 18 to 60 plus participated in the Rivada Mercury emergency preparedness survey, conducted online during August.

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Comments
On 10/12/16, Rick Mitchell said:
Civilians can't drive from point A to B without texting or making phone calls. They eat with their phones in their face, walk with heads down and thumbs working ... so who really believes they would give up a second of their social speak for public safety? They would scream bloody murder the first time they got a busy. Good try, but not happening.

On 10/12/16, Ethan Johnson said:
Rick's off base. Sure the every day user is completely engulfed in their wireless device but that's not the case for the user who happens to be caught in the middle of some disaster. First responders NEED first priority in the effected area. It's naive to think users inside a disaster zone don't have a changed wireless use practice or would be willing to step aside for first responders vs. those outside the effected area. As a relative of a first responder, I hope the men and women who provide us emergency services in our times of need get the tools they deserve to do so effectively and safely. I hope to see FirstNet off the ground and helping save lives and property as soon as possible.


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