Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV), who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has introduced the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act (S3756), which would reallocate the 700 MHz D-Block for public safety entities. The bill also would authorize the FCC to allow a public safety licensee to provide access to the spectrum to certain other non-public safety governmental entities, commercial users, utilities, including organizations providing or operating critical infrastructure, including electric, gas and water utilities, and other Federal agencies and departments. This access would be secondary to public safety licensees, and would be subject to preemption by the public safety licensee. The FCC would need to approve such access arrangements, and all monies would be required to be reinvested into the network build out. There are also additional conditions associated with the 700 MHz D-Block licenses. They must follow interoperability standards developed by the FCC, and they must be able to roam onto commercial 700 MHz networks. A Public Safety Advisory Board would oversee the development of the 700 MHz rules, and would be composed of representatives from 1) state and local governments; 2) public safety organizations; 3) providers of commercial services; and 4) manufacturers of communications equipment. The bill provides funding of up to $2 billion, and the Federal share of the funds should not exceed 80%, but this restriction can be waived and the non-federal share can be met through in-kind contributions. The funds will be raised through an auction of 25 MHz spectrum in the 1675-1710 MHz range and a second block in the 2155-2180 MHz range. In addition, funds will be raised through the voluntary relinquishment of spectrum by incumbent licensees, and the subsequent auction of that spectrum. Any auction revenues up to $5.5 billion will go towards the capital expenses of the build out and anything over $5.5 billion will go towards operational and maintenance expenses. Finally, any auction revenues exceeding $11 billion will go towards various appropriated “growth enhancing infrastructure projects”, including Smart Grid. For more information, contact the UTC Legal/Regulatory Department.