WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of a major legislative package for the extension of payroll tax relief and unemployment benefits, House and Senate conferees have come to an agreement that will provide public safety with the spectrum, funding and authority necessary to launch a long overdue nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. While other legislative details of the larger package remain to be worked out, negotiators have signaled agreement on the allocation of D Block to public safety and related funding and governance provisions.
“APCO International thanks our congressional supporters on both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress for their dedication to responsibly achieving the build out of a Public Safety Broadband Network and in supporting Next Generation 9-1-1 technologies,” said Gregg Riddle, APCO International President. “We pledge our full cooperation in the implementation of this legislation for the betterment of our nation’s security and look forward to working with these dedicated congressional leaders in the future on important legislation to public safety and the citizens we serve.”
APCO specifically applauds the tireless dedication on this issue of Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller, IV (D-WV) and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI6), Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR2) and Ranking Members Henry Waxman (D-CA30) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA14).
“This is a momentous legislative achievement for our first responders and the citizens they serve with credit going to the Commerce Committee leadership in both the House and Senate and extending as well to the unwavering support of the Homeland Security Committee leadership in both chambers, the Obama Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the nation’s governors, state legislators, state chief information officers, county executives, mayors and the police, sheriff, fire, emergency medical service and 9-1-1 communications professionals throughout the country,” said Richard Mirgon, APCO International Past President and liaison to the Public Safety Alliance. “This compromise is a victory for the citizens of the United States that will enhance mission-critical communications in a flexible and responsible way that supports nationwide interoperability and efficient use of available spectrum.”
Based on the details available at press time, the bipartisan compromise provides for the allocation of D Block to public safety to be governed through an independent board under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), funding of $7 billion for the build out of the network to come from proceeds of incentive auctions of spectrum, and the eventual give-back of spectrum in the 470-512 MHz or T-Band on a projected 11-year timetable for clearance of the channels with the costs supported for the relocation of these licensees. The legislation also includes funding for Next Generation 9-1-1 technologies.
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About APCO International
APCO International (www.apcointl.org) is the world’s largest organization of public safety communications professionals. It serves the needs of public safety communications practitioners worldwide—and the welfare of the general public as a whole—by providing complete expertise, professional development, technical assistance, advocacy and outreach.