According to the Public Safety Alliance, the New York City Council is holding a hearing Tuesday morning on a resolution to urge Congress to pass S. 911.
That is the standalone bill championed by Senate Commerce Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller that would allocate the so-called D block of spectrum to the public safety community for an interoperable broadband emergency communications network, paid for by proceeds from an auction of broadcast spectrum.
The bill has also been attached to the President's jobs bill currently being vetted by the bipartisan deficit committee.
Scheduled to testify at the hearing is APCO International's director of government relations Yucel Ors, who is project manager for the Public Safety Alliance, 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 State EMS Officials.
Republican leaders in the House Energy & Commerce Committee have been arguing for auctioning that spectrum, as current law requires, and letting private industry take the lead in a public-private partnership to build the network.
The Federal Communications Commission tried auctioning the spectrum before, but did not draw a minimum bid. It was criticized for putting too many conditions on the spectrum, which discouraged bidders.
"It is absolutely critical that Congress stays focused on passing legislation that allocates the D Block to public safety," said Ors in a statement. "We applaud New York City for making this a priority and working to give first responders this critical tool to help them protect all Americans during future emergencies, from day-to-day incidents and natural disasters to terrorist attacks."