FCC and Congress Spar over Public Safety Spectrum

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gatorhater

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FCC, Congress Spar Over Public Safety Spectrum

04.15.08

from PCMag.com

by Chloe Albanesius

All five members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took some heat Tuesday over the lackluster response to the public safety D-block spectrum auction, but the commissioners placed some of the blame on Congress and its failure to allocate adequate funding for the project.

"Congress has not yet passed any law that would require funding to go to the public safety networks," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said during a House Energy and Commerce Internet and Telecom subcommittee hearing on the 700-MHz auction.

The preferable option would be to fund and build a public safety network with federal dollars, but without that option, a public-private partnership was the only alternative, Martin said.

"Congress has some responsibility too," said Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein.

At issue is the recently concluded 700-MHz auction. The FCC raised more than $19 billion auctioning off valuable spectrum that will allow for wireless broadband capabilities. Among the five blocks of available spectrum was the D-block, which the winner would have had to make available to public safety officials if it reached a reserve price of $1.3 billion. Bidding, however, did not attract anything beyond an initial $472 million bid from Qualcomm.

Had a company made a $1.3 billion bid for the D-block, they would have purchased the rights to 10 MHz of spectrum on the D-block. They would have then had to partner with the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), which owns the rights to an additional 10-MHz spectrum, and fund the build-out of a network that would be used by public safety in times of emergency.

Without the investment of the commercial D-block winner, however, the public safety network has no money, and is basically stuck until the FCC decides how to re-auction the D-block spectrum.

"Absent a legislative change that would provide the kind of resources that would be necessary" to build the public safety network, a public-private partnership is the best solution, Martin said.

Adelstein, Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps, as well as Republican Commissioners Deborah Tate and Robert McDowell, echoed Martin's sentiments.
 

letarotor

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I can't help but smell a rat here and ponder if the FCC will eventually screw up the 700MHz band as bad as they did the 800 band requiring billions more to fix the problem?
 

fineshot1

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Before the FCC moves on and screws up any more bands they should clean up & correct the mess they have made of the UHF-T band with the TV stations that are supposed to move to a new TV chan before going to digital. They seem to have changed the game plan and are now allowing some of the TV stations to remain in there present TV channel spectrum when they turn on digital TV and this can not peacefully co-exist with Public Saftey allocations especially along the coast lines where they never did a propagation "worst case analysis" concerning "coastal ducting" and "band openings". Someones head should roll for that one.
 

btritch

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That's the hands of the Federal Communications Commission and The United States Government For You! Don't Care About anything or anyone but themselves and tax $$ crazy!
 
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