The House Commerce Committee was pitched Thursday on a new private industry-government partnership to use some of the auctioned analog TV spectrum for a public safety communications systems. The systems would be available for private use during non-emergencies.
Backers of the Frontline Wireless proposal, which include former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, made their case at a House Telecommunications Subcommittee hearing on the future of wireless telecommunications.
The FCC has to auction 60 mHz of spectrum in the 700 mHz band by the end of the year as part of the transition to digital. Frontline wants the FCC to require that 10 mHz of that auctioned spectrum be set aside for that public safety system, in which the spectrum would be used for commercial purposes, but immediately available for an interoperable public safety network in times of crisis.The FCC will consider an item concerning rules for that auction at its open meeting next week.
“We want an auction where the winner has to build a network open to all users instead of closing off access to only the few favored choices favored by the spectrum owner,” said Frontline Chairman Janice Obuchowski.“In short," she said, seeming to hit on all the hot-buttons for the legislators, "we want a market-based solution to the problems of consolidation, rising prices, stifled innovation, shrunken choice and handicapped public safety.”