National Governors Association
National Conference of State Legislatures
The Council of State Governments
National Association of Counties
National League of Cities
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
International City/County Management Association

April 14, 2010

The Honorable Henry Waxman
Chairman
Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Joe Barton
Ranking Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Rick Boucher
Chairman
Subcommittee on Communications,
Technology, and the Internet
Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Cliff Stearns
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Communications,
Technology, and the Internet
Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Re: Opposition to commercial auction of the 700 MHz D block and support for reallocation to public safety

Dear Chairman Waxman, Chairman Boucher, Ranking Member Barton and Ranking Member Stearns:

As national organizations representing state and local government officials, we request that you oppose a commercial auction of the 700 MHz D block and support legislation to reallocate the D block of spectrum to public safety.  The utilization of broadband technology is crucial to the future of public safety and will enhance the ability to save lives by quickly sharing information with first responders, public institutions and private citizens.  Allocating the D block directly to public safety is the only way to ensure a robust, modern and reliable nationwide interoperable network.

For years, state and local first responders have sought to build a national interoperable communications network that allows real-time information sharing through high speed video and data.  This requires an appropriate, dedicated band of spectrum that can accommodate the everyday needs of firefighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel, as well as provide excess capacity during times of emergency.  The 700 MHz D block finally provides this opportunity.  While the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan proposes to provide public safety roaming and priority access on other commercial 700 MHz networks for a fee, this proposal relies on untested technologies and new regulations that cannot ensure reliable and resilient communications capabilities to meet stringent public safety needs.

We urge you to support reallocation of the D block to ensure this one time opportunity to develop a nationwide interoperable network for public safety is not lost.


Sincerely,

 

Raymond C. Scheppach, Executive Director
National Governors Association

 

William Pound, Executive Director
National Conference of State Legislatures

 

David Adkins, Executive Director
The Council of State Governments

 

Larry E. Naake
Executive Director, National Association of Counties

 

Donald J. Borut, Executive Director
National League of Cities

 

Tom Cochran
CEO and Executive Director
United States Conference of Mayors

 

Robert J. O’Neill, Executive Director
International City/County Management Association

 

 

cc:        The Honorable John D.  Rockefeller, Chairman, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
The Honorable John Kerry, Chairman, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
The Honorable John Ensign, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
The Honorable Julius Genachowski, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
Jaime Barnett, Chief, Homeland Security and Public Safety Bureau, Federal Communications Commission