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Congress

Rockefeller: Public-Safety Bill Is Highest Priority

February 16, 2011

The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee vowed Wednesday to pass legislation that would allocate a controversial chunk of spectrum known as the D-block to public-safety officials for an interoperable broadband network before the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, National Journal Daily reported.

At a hearing on how to build such a network, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said legislation he introduced last month is the committee's top priority. His bill would reallocate the D-block to the public-safety officials instead of auctioning it off, as is required by current law. To help pay for the network, the bill would authorize the Federal Communications Commission to conduct incentive auctions aimed at persuading broadcasters to give up some of their spectrum in exchange for some of the proceeds from the auction of those airwaves.

"This is my highest legislative priority for this committee," Rockefeller said. "We'll work to get it done before we reach the 10th anniversary" of the September 11 attacks.

Those attacks highlighted several communications problems facing first responders, and the commission that investigated the attacks called for the creation of a national interoperable network. To read more, click here. (Subscription required)

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