April 12th, 2011
Public Safety Groups: Allocate D Block
Public safety organizations en masse plan to tell the House Communications Subcommittee that it is imperative they pass legislation that allocated the D block of spectrum to public safety.
While one member of the 9/11 Commission, former Republican Senator Slade Gorton, is arguing for auctioning the block, they plan to remind the committee in their testimony, a copy of which was supplied to B&C/Multi, that the chairmen of the commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, recently testified to Congress that that spectrum must be immediately allocated, saying further delay was “intolerable.”
In his testimony, NYPD Deputy Chief Charles Dowd says that “every major public safety organization in the country has explicitly rejected” the alternative of auctioning the spectrum and creating a public-private partnership with the commercial entity building out and maintaining the network, but turning it over to first responders in emergencies. That is the approach Gorton is pushing.
But to allocate the spectrum, Congress has to change the DTV transition law, which required the D block of 700 MHz spectrum reclaimed from broadcasters already as part of the digital switch be auctioned, not allocated.