Rep Eshoo doubts prospects of D Block in committee's bill

Source: Hill, The
Author: Brendan Sasso
Coverage Type: reporting
Capitol Building, East Capitol Street, NE and 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20002, United States

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), the Ranking Member on the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, acknowledged Friday that it is unlikely the panel will allocate the "D Block" of spectrum for a public safety broadband network.

When asked whether Democrats have been able to persuade full House Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) to include the D Block provision in the committee's spectrum bill, Rep Eshoo said, "We've agreed to disagree." The D Block is a prime chunk of spectrum, or airwaves, and public safety officials say it should be used to build their network. But critics of giving the D Block to public safety argue that the spectrum could be leased to higher bidders to raise more revenue for the government. They say public safety agencies should be given other spectrum bands for their network. "We all recognize that we need a nationwide interoperable public safety network," Rep Eshoo said. "How that is handled, whether the D Block is dedicated, or whether it's handled in a different way, there's a difference of opinion there." She said she does not know when the committee will vote on the spectrum legislation and that negotiations are continuing. "I don't think this is going to be resolved in our discussions leading up to markup, and that's ok," she said. "We will, I believe, offer an amendment. We may not make it on our side, but there has to be an agreement that we debate this on the floor, and I believe we will win there."



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