Although a broadband network dedicated to first responders is in the works at the federal level, Superstorm Sandy proved the vulnerability of wireless carriers for the broader public, writes Jamie Barnett, a former Federal Communications Commission public safety official. "Telephone and wireless carrier crews worked around the clock to repair the damage and get communications working, but in the face of such a huge storm, many citizens were without normal communications for hours or even days," Barnett notes.

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