The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing Sept. 23 on a nationwide public safety network, which
is one of the spectrum issues the FCC is wrestling with in the national broadband plan.
It is also high on the list of committee chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), who introduced a bill last month to allocate spectrum and funding to create such a network. That bill would also authorize incentive auctions to reimburse broadcasters for spectrum the government plans to reclaim from them.
No witness list has been released.
A committee source said it was an exploratory hearing rather than a mark-up on that bill.
The Federal Communications Commission has already tried to auction the D-Block of spectrum to create an interoperable natiowide public safety network, but its proposal for a public-private partnership did not draw the requisite minimum bid.
The agency has proposed trying again as part of the broadband plan, but this time not obligate the D-block winner to create a public safety partnership, though making it clear the spectrum must be available to public safety when needed.
The 10 a.m. Sept. 23 hearing actually conflicts with the FCC's public meeting on the same day, which will
also deal with a spectrum hearing -- the use of space between TV channels by unlicensed wireless devices.