By Sara Jerome - 01/27/11 04:40 PM EST
Influential public safety groups, including APCO and the New York City Police Department, have put a priority on convincing lawmakers that the D Block must be directly allocated to public safety, rather than auctioned off and shared with commercial providers, a cheaper option.
Ors said the issue caught the attention of the White House after the Federal Communications Commission endorsed an auction last year. The public safety lobby began a series of meetings with the administration to make the case for the safety network.
Ors said the vice president's office took a particular interest in the issue, while Greg Schaffer of the Homeland Security Department and Aneesh Chopra, the Federal Chief Technology Officer, served as point men on the topic.
Tuesday's discussion with public safety officials included Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, according to Ors, who was not on the call.
House Homeland Security Chairman Pete King (R-NY), one of the most vocal proponents of D Block reallocation, says he is pleased with the White House position and that he would reintroduce his bill on this issue.
“I would welcome President Obama’s call to reallocate the D Block spectrum to public safety for the development of a national interoperable public safety wireless broadband network," he said in an e-mailed statement. "This decision is a critical development in our fight to strengthen communications for our nation’s first responders.”