FCC should lower minimum bid for public safety network, TIA says

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TIA comment letter

The Federal Communications Commission should either cut or eliminate the proposed $750 million minimum bid requested for the D Block of radio spectrum that would be used for a nationwide public safety broadband network, an industry group has urged.

The FCC is preparing to again put the D Block up for sale, after an unsuccessful attempt to attract a bidder earlier this year. The commission envisions the winning bidder establishing a partnership with public safety agencies to set up a commercial wireless network that would be available to police, fire and medical officials during emergencies.

The Telecommunications Industry Association, in comments submitted on Oct. 31, said economic conditions warrant reducing the minimum bid amount.

“As it seeks to motivate carriers to invest in the shared broadband network it envisions, the commission should take into account the nation’s economic crisis, which will necessarily strain carriers’ ability to justify investment levels that may have been reasonable earlier in the year,” the TIA said.

The commission should establish bond requirements for the winning bidder to ensure that the bidder has appropriate funding on hand, the industry group also said.

In January 2008, the FCC put up for auction 10 MHz of spectrum in the D Block to be shared by public safety users and commercial users. One bid was received, but it was far below the $1.33 billion minimum reserve amount that had been set by the FCC.
 

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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