Last updated: March 30, 2011 - 3:07pm
House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-NY) said it is time to allocate, not auction, D block spectrum for a national interoperable public safety network.
Chairman king has introduced legislation that would allocate the D block spectrum and pay for it through auction of broadcast and other spectrum to wireless companies. At a March 30 hearing on the proposal, William Carrow, president of the The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), said that the needs of first responders are not being met, and that young people coming into public safety jobs have more capabilities on their personal communications devices than they do in their jobs. He said allocating the D block to public safety (10 MHz adjacent to the 10 MHz already allocated to public safety) is a unique opportunity to give public safety exactly what it needs. Chairman King pointed out that it has been almost seven years since the 9/11 Commission recommended in 2004 that the network be built ASAP. Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald of the National Sheriffs' Association said that among all the recommendations, the public safety network is the only one that has not been acted on. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), ranking member of the committee and co-sponsor of the bill, pointed out that House Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) still supported auctioning the D block -- for a public-private partnership -- as did the FCC (a recommendation of the national broadband plan). But he called on them both to support allocation of the block.