Tuesday, July 20, 2010

McCain and Lieberman Propose Giving 700MHz D-Block Spectrum to First Responders

U.S. Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced a bill that would give the public safety community the so-called "D-Block" spectrum, rather than allowing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to auction this spectrum to a commercial carrier. The FCC is slated to auction the D-Block in 2011.

Specifically, the proposed First Responders Protection Act of 2010 would require the FCC to license the 700 MHz D-Block spectrum to the same "public safety broadband licensee" that holds the license for 10 MHz already allocated to public safety. This would place a single public safety licensee in control of all public safety spectrum in the 700 MHz band. The proposed bill would also direct $5.5 billion in revenue from the auction of a different block of spectrum to commercial interests to support the construction of towers, transmission facilities, and equipment for the new public safety network. Another $5.5 billion in auction proceeds would help cover recurring maintenance and operational costs.http://mccain.senate.gov/public/

  • In a statement, Verizon Wireless Vice President and General Counsel Steve Zipperstein voiced support for the proposed legislation: "As President Obama, the FCC and Congressional leaders work to bring an additional 500 MHz of spectrum to market for commercial innovation, open auctions will maximize dollars to the U.S. Treasury while providing the financial resources public safety will need to build out dedicated, interoperable wireless networks. By dedicating just 10 MHz of D-block spectrum - two percent of the 500 MHz total - to public safety, we give emergency service providers the resources they need to do their jobs right."