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House Sets Hearing on Public Safety Broadband Net

The House Communications Subcommittee will hold a hearing June 17 on the draft of a bill to fund and maintain a national inter-operable public safety broadband network.

The FCC has made the creation of that network one of the priorities of its National Broadband Plan.

The commission, under then-chairman Kevin Martin, attempted to create that network via a public-private partnership but was unable to attract a bidder willing to put up the minimum bid for the so-called D-block in the 700 mHz auction.

In the broadband plan, the commission proposed public funding for the network, which it has estimated could cost between $12 billion and $16 billion over the next decade, and recommended a "minimal public safety fee" tax on all broadband users.