Public safety looks to make D-block reauction enticing to commerical operators

The Association of Public Safety Officials (APCO) has submitted recommended technical changes to the FCC regarding the rules governing the re-auction of D-block spectrum, which failed to garner a bidder that was willing to plunk down the $1.3-billion reserve price during the 700 MHz auction earlier this year.

APCO believes the commission would create a greater financial incentive for a commercial operator to bid on the 10-megahertz block if that spectrum was coupled with another 10-megahertz of spectrum that is already allocated to public safety. Under that scenario, public safety would have priority access on no more than 50 percent of the network's capacity rather than 100 percent proposed the first time around. That would maximize the business opportunity for the commercial operator, noted Sean O'Hara of Syracuse Research in an article from Urgent Communications.

"This may seem like a concession," O'Hara of Syracuse Research said during a panel discussion at last week's APCO conference. "But, if this [network] is not built, we're not going to get to use more than that 10 megahertz anyway."

Recently, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said that the commission won't make a decision on whether to re-auction the 700 MHz D-Block spectrum or to auction the AWS-3 spectrum until at least September. 

For more:
- read Urgent Communications

Related stories:
FCC says auction decision won't happen until September. Auction story
What does public safety do now? D-block editorial