Public Safety, Interoperability and the Transition to Digital Television [Updated June 30, 2005] [open pdf - 74KB]
"The 9/11 Commission Report recommended in 2004 that 'Congress should support pending legislation which provides for the expedited and increased assignment of radio spectrum for public safety purposes.' This was a reference to the Homeland Emergency Response Operations Act (HERO Act) -- introduced by Representative Jane Harman -- that would have required the FCC to 'take all actions necessary to complete assignments' for these channels so that operations could begin no later than January 1, 2007, in line with the deadline originally envisioned for the completion of the transition to DTV for all affected channels. Plans to release the spectrum were included in both the key House (H.R. 10) and Senate (S.2845) versions of the bills proposed to respond to the 9/11 Commission. The Senate version included language that would have released the needed channels by the end of 2007. The House version and the final Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-458) expressed the preference that the transition to digital television be considered in its entirety. Language in the act conveys the sense of Congress that the first session of the 109th Congress must act to establish a comprehensive approach to the timely return of spectrum and that any delay in doing this will delay planning by the public safety sector. There are also provisions in the Act for studies that could provide the foundation for achieving significant improvements in public safety communications. […] This report summarizes issues relevant to the clearing of the frequencies or channels designated for public safety."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32622
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