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Position Statement on S. 3756 - The Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act of 2010

The Public Safety Alliance (PSA), a partnership of the nation's leading public safety associations which includes the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, the National Emergency Management Association and the National Association of EMS Officials, strongly supports S. 3756, the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act of 2010, introduced by Senator John (Jay) Rockefeller, IV (D-WV) Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

S. 3756 will:

  • Establish a framework for the deployment of a nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network for public safety;
  • Allocate 10 MHz of spectrum, known as the D Block, directly to public safety;
  • Direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to develop technical and operational standards to ensure nationwide interoperability and build-out (including rural areas);
  • Direct the FCC to establish standards that allow public safety officials, when not using the network, to lease capacity on a secondary, but preemptive basis to non-public safety entities, including other governmental users and commercial users; and
  • Provide the FCC with incentive auction authority, which allows existing spectrum licensees to voluntarily relinquish their airwaves in exchange for a portion of the proceeds of the commercial auction of their spectrum. The funds from these incentive auctions, in conjunction with funds from the auction of other specified spectrum bands, and funds earned from leasing the public safety network on a secondary basis, will be used to fund the construction and maintenance of the nationwide interoperable wireless broadband public safety network.

As S. 3756 moves through the legislative process, the PSA has made several recommendations to Senator Rockefeller to improve the bill and we appreciate the Senator’s willingness to work with us to address our concerns. We strongly urge the Senate to quickly pass this critical legislation that will improve the way America’s first responders protect and serve the public.

Public safety officials, including sheriffs, police chiefs, fire chiefs, police officers, state troopers, emergency management professionals and emergency medical service providers across America, are united in their strong support for the allocation of the D Block to public safety and the establishment of a funding program to construct and maintain a nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network that will improve our nation’s homeland security and provide first responders with advanced voice and data communications technologies that are urgently needed.

This legislation builds on the growing support in Congress from Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) who introduced S. 3625 – The First Responders Protection Act of 2010; Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) who introduced H.R. 5081 – Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010, which now has more than 68 cosponsors; and Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose draft language was the catalyst to identifying the necessary funding to build out and maintain a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network.

Click here to download the position statement.

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