D Block auction sheds police, fire support

After Obama backed reallocation last week, a reversal came from these two key groups who had underpinned auction proponents' claims that the public safety community supported their view.

Chuck Canterbury, the national president of FOP, said the firefighters changed their position after the White House signaled it wants to see federal funding devoted to the network. 

"Without this commitment, there was a genuine concern on the part of public safety that industry interests would exclude rural areas because it would not be profitable for carriers," Canterbury said.

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The largest concerns for FOP and IAFF, according to Canterbury, were that rural and small agencies would have to deal with a single carrier or would not get access to funding to build out the network.

"With the vice president's help, these issues have been fully addressed, and I have personally thanked him for his efforts," he said.

IAFF, though previously vocal on this issue — including through an official who testified in Congress last year — said it is no longer commenting on the issue. 

The reversal appears to bring the groups in line with influential public safety groups who have promoted direct allocation, including the New York City Police Department (NYPD).