As a former police officer, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) is one of the most active Members of Congress when it comes to the issue of communications interoperability among emergency responders. In his final months before retiring from the House, Stupak is pressing for the FCC to get on with the auction of the so-called D-Block from the spectrum vacated by television in the DTV transition.
Stupak was speaking at the 2010 Radio Show in Washington, DC, but in this case his comments dealt with the former TV spectrum and the failed 2008 FCC auction which sought to have the wireless infrastructure built out by private industry, but with first responders having priority in times of emergency.
The lame-duck Congressman doesn’t think much of the legislation proposed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to reallocate the spectrum to emergency services instead of auctioning it, with a fund established to finance the build-out from the eventual auction proceeds from the additional TV spectrum that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski hopes to have broadcasters vacate for wireless broadband.
Stupak says that won’t work because cash-strapped state and local governments can’t even pay for the equipment needed once the infrastructure is built. He wants the FCC to get back on track with a new D-Block auction to the private sector, which would build it out for joint public-private use as originally envisioned.