4G Coalition Stumps For D Block Auction

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The Coalition for 4G in America, which includes Clearwire, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile, will be making their case on Capitol Hill Monday for auctioning spectrum in the D block.

Former Motorola chief technology officer Dennis Roberson will hold briefings on the House and Senate side about why the coalition thinks an auction is the way to go.

The D block is the spectrum the FCC tried to auction to create a public-private partnership to build a national, interoperable public safety network. It failed to draw the FCC's minimum bid. The FCC has made re-auctioning that spectrum, which 4G supports, part of its national broadband plan. It would not mandate a public-private partnership, but would require the winning bidder to make that 10 MHz of spectrum available for public safety in an emergency.

But Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has introduced a bill that would put the spectrum directly in the hands of public safety. His bill would simply allocate the 10 MHz to public safety, allowing it to lease the spectrum to commercial users on a pre-empt basis. Rockefeller would fund operation of that network with proceeds from the planned auction of broadcast spectrum reclaimed for wireless broadband.

The 4G briefings come in advance of a Sept. 23 hearing in Rockefeller's Committee on creating that network.