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Senate Commerce Sets Emergency Net Witness List

The Senate
Commerce Committee has set the witness list for its Feb. 16 hearing on
building an interoperable network for first responders.

They will
include Rep. Peter King, chairman of the Committee on Homeland
Security, who has introduced his own bill to create a first responder

New York Police commissioner Raymond Kelly; Delaware Governor Jack
Markell; North Las Vegas Fire Chief Al Gillespie; and Joe Hanna,
president of Directions Inc.

Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) last year
introduced his own bill that would create the network, allocate the
spectrum for it and pay for it through auctions, including the
incentive auction of reclaimed broadcast spectrum.

Obama administration backs that approach and has made it part of
its national wireless initiative to get 4G wireless broadband to 98% of
the country.

recommended auctioning the spectrum to a private company who would
share it with first responders, but has since signaled that it is OK
with whatever gets the network built and funded, since that is the
first priority.

King's bill, which has several Democratic co-sponsors, would also call for allocating the spectrum rather than auctioning it.