Bipartisan legislation that would reallocate the 700 MHz D Block spectrum for public-safety use was introduced this week in the U.S. House of Representatives, reports Urgent Communications. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), ranking member of the House committee on homeland security, introduced the bill to block the Federal Communications Commission from auctioning the spectrum to commercial operators next year under current law. Co-sponsors of the bill are Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) – chair of the emerging threats, cybersecurity and science and technology subcommittee – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Al.), Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mi.), and Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-La.).
In its national broadband plan, the FCC recommended that the D Block be auctioned and that Congress provide $12 billion to $16 billion in funding for a public-safety network on the PSST spectrum. Public-safety users would be given priority access when roaming on commercial networks in the 700 MHz band under the plan, but many first-responder representatives have reservations whether that approach will be reliable enough for mission-critical communications. Major national public-safety organizations have supported D Block reallocation for public safety. Last week, the “Big 7” government organizations – the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the International City/County Management Association – asked federal lawmakers to direct the FCC to cancel its mandate to auction the D Block to commercial operators.