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Lawmakers Set to Consider 700 MHz Public Safety Allocation

WASHINGTON: A House subcommittee is preparing to hold a hearing on a bill to allocate spectrum for public safety. This, according to Tim Doyle of SNL Kagan. The House subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet will hold a hearing June 17 on the Public Safety Broadband Act of 2010, Doyle said, citing an advisory yet to be released.

The current version of the bill, H.R. 5081, allocates 10 MHz of spectrum for a nationwide wireless public safety network. The allocation, between 758 and 763 MHz and 788 and 793 MHz, is also known as the “D Block” of spectrum that failed to draw the minimum bid in the FCC’s 700 MHz auction in 2007. The block required a public-private partnership that didn’t materialize.

H.R. 5081 directs the FCC to create a single licensee to authorize construction permits for public safety providers. Doyle said the pending legislation also provides funding for the network as of Oct. 1 and directs the FCC to explore a secondary use of the public safety spectrum. He noted that the FCC recently granted conditional approval to 21 petitions from municipalities to build out the public-safety 700 MHz allocation in their own markets.
-- Deborah D. McAdams