Government // Mobile & Wireless
06:21 PM
Risk Data as a Strategy
Apr 06, 2016
There is a renewed focus on risk data aggregation and reporting (RDAR) solutions, as financial ins ...Read More>>

Congress Studies 700 MHz Auction's Failure To Deliver Public Safety Network

Some lawmakers suggest that the nationwide public-safety block be reauctioned and the proceeds be used to build out a public-safety network.

Was the FCC's recent 700-MHz spectrum auction a success if the D block public-safety network wasn't sold?

That and other questions were examined Tuesday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

While there was general agreement that the entire auction, which raised $19.1 billion, was successful, the fact that the public-safety block failed to sell is viewed by many as a failure. Congress has been seeking improved public-safety networking in the wake of the failure of existing networks to respond well in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center towers and in natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Thousands of fragmented networks are used by public-safety agencies, but they are generally uncoordinated and have difficulty functioning properly in major crises.

"The simple reality is that public safety does not have the funds to build a network," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin stated. "It would have been better to take the auction proceeds and provide the public-safety community with the resources needed to build their own interoperable network. But we do not have the authority to directly fund such a network. As a result, the public-private partnership was the only means available to us to address this crucial issue."

The D block spectrum, which carried a $1.3 billion reserve requirement, was designed to enable a combination of public-safety and commercial interests to coexist in a network. Ideally, the commercial part of the D block would fund the public-safety part, but the idea failed when no serious bids were placed for the D block and bidding languished in the early days of the 700 MHz auction.

Republican congressmen at the hearing Joe Barton and Cliff Stearns have suggested that a nationwide public-safety block be reauctioned and the proceeds be used to build out a public-safety network. Rep. John Dingell, a Democrat who is chairman of the committee, indicated he opposed that idea.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
4 Trends Shaping Digital Transformation in Insurance
Insurers no longer have a choice about digital adoption if they want to remain relevant. A comprehensive enterprise-wide digital strategy is fundamental to doing business today.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of April 24, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week!
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.