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APCO Asks for Help in Clearing TV Channels 60-69, House Subcommittee Considers FCC DTV Transition Pl

The The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) issued a Press Release describing a letter sent to Representative Fred Upton that said, "APCO and many others continue to urge Congress to require TV stations that block public safety allocations to relinquish their channels no later than December 31, 2006." Representative Upton is the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

The letter continued, "We also support the FCC Media Bureau recommendation that the Commission change its 'must-carry' rules to ensure that the 85 percent threshold is met as of January 1, 2009, though we suggest an earlier date for channels 60-69. The Media Bureau's proposal would be a major step forward, assuming that it provides state and local governments with sufficient certainty to begin the planning, funding and construction process upon adoption of the rule change." The press release said that uncertainty as to when the TV channel spectrum will be available "makes it difficult for state and local governments to plan or fund new radio system on the reallocated public safety spectrum."

The letter emphasized the spectrum is needed now. "These systems are needed today, not at some distant undefined date," the letter stated. "Public safety agencies need access to the reallocated spectrum to provide critical capacity for new and expanded wide-area, multi-agency radio systems."

Representative Upton's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing on "Advancing the DTV Transition: An Examination of the FCC Media Bureau Proposal" on June 2, 2004 at 10 am EDT. The hearing website has details on the hearing and should have written testimony on line soon after the hearing. It also has information on how to listen to the hearing over the Internet using the Real Player. The link to the streaming audio will be active ten minutes prior to the start of the hearing.