D-Block timeline

The following is a selected list of important dates in the fate of the D Block.

  • June 2007: The Public Safety Spectrum Trust, a nonprofit organization made up of public-safety organizations, is established.
  • July 31, 2007: The FCC issues a Second Report and Order outlining rules that would create a public-private partnership between the public-safety community and a commercial licensee that would bid for and own the D-Block portion of the 700 MHz band to create a nationwide, interoperable broadband network.
  • November 2007: The FCC issues the PSST a nationwide Public Safety Broadband License for 12 MHz of broadband spectrum in the upper 700 MHz band.
  • Jan. 9, 2008: Frontline Wireless, a startup that fought to make the private-public partnership licensing scheme a reality, shut down operations after failing to raise enough money to bid in the FCC's 700 MHz spectrum auction.
  • Jan. 24 - March 18, 2008: The FCC conducts Auction 73, better known as the 700 MHz spectrum auction. No bidder meets the $1.3 billion minimum bid, or reserve price, for the D Block. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin says "the FCC is now evaluating its options for this spectrum," and that "the commission remains committed to ensuring that we work to solve public safety's interoperability challenges."
  • March 20, 2008: The FCC issues an order delaying further action on the D Block until further notice.
  • April 15, 2008: Congress debates what to do with the D-Block, but arrives at little consensus on the way forward.
  • May 14, 2008: The FCC issues a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which looks at the D-Block auction failure and seeks to find a way forward.
  • Sept. 25, 2008: The FCC adopts a Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which proposes to create three alternate sets of D-Block spectrum--one for a national network and two regional networks.
  • Nov. 4, 2008: Barack Obama becomes president. Following the election, Congress tells Martin not to take any further action on the D Block until the new administration takes over.
  • April 17, 2009: Steve Zipperstein, Verizon's vice president for legal and external affairs and the carrier's general counsel, gives a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in which he argues that the D-Block re-auction be scrapped. Instead, he calls for allocating the D-Block spectrum directly to public-safety organizations on a state, local and regional basis, which he said would give public safety more control over the spectrum
  • April 20, 2009: The Major Cities Police Chiefs 700 MHz Working Group convenes an invitation-only meeting in Washington, D.C., with several major public-safety groups to decide what to do. Attending are representatives of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriffs' Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International and the Metro Fire Chiefs. The groups eventually agree to support the plan Zipperstein advocated.
  • Early June 2009: APCO and two other influential organizations--National Emergency Number Association and the National Public-Safety Telecommunications Council--endorse LTE as the preferred technology for the public-safety network.
  • June 23, 2009: Leap Wireless, MetroPCS, Rural Telecommunications Group and T-Mobile USA file a letter with the FCC expressing their opposition to the plan the public-safety organizations had rallied around. Instead, they argue for a re-auction of the D Block for commercial use, where the proceeds would go toward building out the network.
  • Sept. 10, 2009: The PSST throws its support behind the plan to get Congress to allocate the spectrum directly to public safety.

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