A draft report issued by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology indicated that a New York City Fire Department repeater manufactured by Motorola and located in the World Trade Center's north tower worked properly on Sept. 11, 2001.

Instead, the fire department's command-and-control was “seriously affected by the lack of good communications,” particularly inadequate in- formation sharing between responding agencies.

“A preponderance of evidence indicates that lack of timely information sharing and inadequate communication capabilities likely contributed to the loss of emergency responder lives,” the report said.

In March 2005, the families of nine city firefighters who died when the World Trade Center collapsed asked the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals to review last year's decision by a district court judge to dismiss their lawsuit against Motorola and the city of New York.

In the suit, the families claimed that the firefighters were unable to hear orders to evacuate the World Trade Center before it collapsed because the fire department radio system the city purchased from Motorola was faulty. Judge Alvin Hellerstein dismissed the suit on the grounds that the families relinquished their right to civil action in the case by filing a claim with the Victim Compensation Fund established by Congress.

Motorola spokesman Jeff Madsen said it would be premature to comment on the NIST report because the findings are preliminary but added that the company was glad the investigators “recognized the integrity of our communications systems.” He said NIST is expected to issue the final report in June.