Rockefeller Markup Moving To June 8

Word from multiple sources is that the markup of Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s incentive auction/interoperable emergency communications network bill has been moved from May 25 to June 8.

That will be easier for the media reporters,–though w’re told it so the ranking member of the Commerce Committee could be there–since the House Communications Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing on an emergency broadband net for May 25, one of several hearings it is holding on spectrum issues.

A competing emergency communications bill has emerged from Sens. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) that, according to sources, does not rely on broadcast spectrum for its funding, but instead spectrum from other swaths off the band.

If thta is the case, it will be interesting to see whether broadcasters get behind it and the senator–McCain–who hammered them during the DTV transition as sitting on spectrum that could be used by first responders.

The flurryof activity is being generated in part by the approaching tenth anniversary of 9/11, where emergency workers could not communicate and many died, likely in part because of that communications breakdown.

There is a House bill, as well, backed by New York Republican Rep. Peter King, that also allocates spectrum for an emergency network and pays for it with spectrum from broadcasters and others.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.