Today, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI15) issued the following statement at the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing on "Interoperable Public Safety Communications":
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important hearing. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to our witnesses this morning. Thank you for appearing before the Committee to give testimony and answer our questions.
"The problems with constructing a national interoperable public safety network are not new. The debate about whether it is better to reallocate or auction the D-Block also has become alarmingly long in the tooth. In brief, we have made precious little progress since 9/11 in improving the resources available to first responders.
"I intend to use this morning's hearing to productive ends. I will ask our witnesses questions about reallocating the D-Block and how to guarantee public safety has the resources with which to construct and maintain a national interoperable network. I also welcome our witnesses' opinions about how to make certain cash-strapped municipalities do not face undue burden in modernizing their communications equipment and infrastructure, as well as how to strike an appropriate balance between broadband and broadcast media in times of emergency.
"I note that there are a number of public safety bills circulating Congress. Many of them would reallocate the D-Block and pay -- at least partially -- for the construction and maintenance of a public safety network by allowing the Federal Communications Commission to conduct voluntary incentive auctions of broadcast spectrum. I am deeply suspicious of what the Commission would do with broad authority to conduct incentive auctions. As such, I will not consider granting the Commission that authority until the Commission has explained sufficiently to this Committee how it would use it.
"I look forward to a productive hearing and yield back the balance of my time."