King Statement on Senate Commerce Committee Action to Reallocate D Block for Public Safety

Jun 8, 2011 Issues: First Responder Communications

Washington, D.C. (Wednesday, June 8, 2011) – Today, ­U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement on today’s Senate Commerce Committee passage of S. 911, which would reallocate the D Block communications spectrum to public safety:  

“I commend Chairman Rockefeller and Ranking Member Hutchison for moving this legislation forward, which would reallocate the D Block portion of the communications spectrum for the development of a national interoperable public safety wireless broadband network. 

“D Block reallocation is exactly what America’s first responders have long advocated, which is why I have introduced in the House H.R. 607, a bipartisan bill to reallocate the D Block.  

“I urge the full Senate to consider S. 911 as soon as possible so that we can move closer to satisfying a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

“I again request that Chairman Fred Upton and the House Energy and Commerce Committee take up as soon as possible H.R. 607, the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011, so that we can provide our nation’s first responders with the tools they require to fulfill their mission.” 

***Note:  King, along with Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and five other original co-sponsors, introduced H.R. 607 on Feb. 10.  The bipartisan legislation, which now has 34 co-sponsors, has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The legislation is comprehensive, addressing not only spectrum allocation, but also funding for the construction of a public safety network, and governance.  Funding for the construction of the network will come from auction of globally homogenized Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum. Under this legislation, there will be a single licensee for the full 20 MHz of public safety broadband spectrum.

Reallocation of the D Block for public safety is supported by President Obama, the co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, both Republicans and Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee, and  virtually every public safety group and the seven largest governance groups in the country, including the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the International City/County Management Association, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials,  the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the National Emergency Management Association, the National Sheriffs' Association, the Major County Sheriffs' Association, the National Troopers Coalition, and the National Criminal Justice Association.

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