House Introduces Legislation Promoting D-Block Allocation

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced a bill last week to allocate 10MHz of airwaves to public safety. The re-allocated band of spectrum, known as the D-block, would be an essential tool for first responders who face heightened spectrum demand during emergency situations.

Government and communications officials have been debating the allocation of the D-Block since 2004, when the 9/11 Commission first suggested the creation of a national interoperable public safety network. This network would exist on a separate band of spectrum, thereby alleviating the burden on current channels of communication.

If passed, the House bill would overturn an existing law requiring the FCC to auction the D-Block. Efforts to auction the block in 2008 failed when the FCC did not receive a minimum bid and have unnecessarily delayed the creation of the safety network.

Both chairmen of the 9/11 commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, who initially favored an auction, have since publicly come out in favor of allocation. They join members of Congress, public safety officers, and the Obama administration in support of D-Block allocation. The CWA and Speed Matters have long stood by our first responders and believe this legislation would be a positive step toward expanded public safety.

King: Now is Time to Reallocate D Block (Broadcasting & Cable)

Key holdouts endorse public safety plan (The Hill: Hillicon Valley)