The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International last week sent a letter to Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) seeking congressional assistance in forcing broadcasters to relinquish 24MHz of spectrum (TV channels 63, 64, 68 and 69) by the Dec. 31, 2006 deadline for broadcasters to complete their transition to DTV service.
Upton, who chairs the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, will hold a hearing tomorrow examining the FCC Media Bureau’s recent DTV transition proposal.
In 1997, Congress required the FCC to reallocate 24MHz (764-776MHz and 794-806MHz) for public safety radio service. TV broadcasters currently occupy this spectrum but will be required to relinquish it by Dec. 31, 2006, or when 85 percent of TV households receive DTV signals.
"These systems are needed today, not at some distant undefined date," the APCO International letter said. "Public safety agencies need access to the reallocated spectrum to provide critical capacity for new and expanded wide-area, multi-agency radio systems."
Local and state government planning and funding of new radio systems in this spectrum is difficult because of the uncertainty over when broadcasters will return their analog spectrum.
To read the entire letter, please visit: www.apco911.org/about/gov/documents/uptonletter05-27-04.pdf.