The National Governors Association (NGA) today issued the following statement regarding the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology’s mark-up of legislation to reallocate the D block to public safety:
“The nation’s governors applaud both the majority and minority leadership of the committee for introducing legislation to reallocate the D block. Governors have long called for reallocation, a cornerstone of any effort to make the nation’s first interoperable public safety broadband network a reality.
“The bipartisan leadership of the committee has taken an important step forward and addressed several key concerns identified by governors in their respective legislative proposals. While several important issues remain, tomorrow’s markup is a critical step forward.
“Currently, first responders must rely on commercial networks for mobile data services. Dedicating spectrum known as the D block to serve public safety provides our first responders with a single communications network and a single device that will work seamlessly anywhere in the country and is consistent with the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
“This legislation builds on growing bipartisan support in Congress to reallocate D block to public safety. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act, which passed the Senate Commerce Committee this past summer. Earlier this year, Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain introduced the First Responders Protection Act of 2010; Representatives Peter King and Yvette Clarke introduced the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2010; and Representatives John Dingell and Gene Green introduced the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act. Additionally, the House Homeland Security Committee recently passed bipartisan legislation that recommended the D block of spectrum be reallocated to public safety.
“Governors thank the committee for prioritizing the reallocation of the D block. The committee has been a leader in promoting interoperable communications, and governors look forward to a continued partnership to dramatically transform how first responders communicate and how we deliver life-saving and life-sustaining services to our citizens.”