FCC Tries Again on D Block
FCC has released new proposals for public safety use of the 700 MHz D block as the previous disastrous auction attempt. The new proposals will use auction results to determine what technology will be used and whether the licenses will be national or regional:
A primary goal of the Commission is to promote the deployment of a broadband network that provides maximum coverage to first responders across the country. Today’s Notice proposes to retain a Public/Private Partnership framework for the 700 MHz band absent other sources of funding. Today’s Notice proposes a modified set of rules to govern the D Block and a revised auction plan for assigning D Block licenses. Specifically, the FCC proposes to use the competitive bidding process to determine whether, based on greatest population coverage and highest bid(s), the D Block spectrum would be licensed to a single licensee on a nationwide basis or to regional licensees on the basis of 58 public safety regions.
In the event the D Block is licensed on a regional basis, the auction results also would determine the particular air interface technologythat would be deployed across the nation by the D Block licensee(s) when building out the interoperable broadband network(s), which would facilitate the ability of public safety entities to communicate outside of their home regions.
Comments are due 30 days after Federal Register publication and reply comments 10 days later. Will it work this time? We will see.
It is odd that we can afford $700B for the financial crisis but not the $20-30 B needed to build a rational nationwide interoperable public safety system without resorting to these tricks.