Police, Fire Chiefs Seek Carve-Out From Any DTV-Delay Bill

Consumers Union "enthusiastically endorses that kind of carve-out for public safety"
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Police chiefs, fire chiefs and other first responders want a carve-out from any DTV-delaying bill for analog TV channels being turned over to public safety uses.

In a letter to the transition team Friday, the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials and the police and fire chief associations "strongly recommended" that any extension of the Feb. 17 date "exclude television channels occupying spectrum that will be used for public safety communications."

The FCC auctioned the 700 Mhz band--UHF channels between 52 and 69--for advanced wireless services, with a carve-out of some channels for public safety.

"All fifty states have already received licenses to operate on portions of the new spectrum, and many agencies across the nation have already acquired radios capable of operating in the 700 MHz band," they said.

The Obama transition team had not returned a call for comment at press time. But Consumers Union, which first asked Congress to move the date, would "enthusiastically endorse that kind of carve-out for public safety," according to Communications Director David Butler.

The Obama transition team this week asked the FCC to dealy the date citing a general lack of funding for DTV education and a specific backlog of DTV-to-analog converter box coupon requests.