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TIA to FCC: Reauction D-Block ASAP

Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Motorola and others are asking the Federal Communications Commission to "quickly" reauction the D-block of spectrum so that an interoperable public safety network can be built.

The companies are all members of technology lobby the Telecommunications Industry Association, which said in a statement that it "applauds the FCC’s effort to ensure that an interoperable public-safety network is built, which would serve the public interest in protecting all Americans in times of emergencies and national disasters," but also wants it to move rapidly.

A spokesman for the TIA had not returned a call at press time on its definition of "quickly," but FCC chairman Kevin Martin has said that the earliest the spectrum could be reauctioned is December, pointing to the need to gather input on the best way to proceed before making any decision.

The block -- which was to be shared by private and public-safety interests and paired with another block of spectrum to create a public-safety network -- failed to meet its $1.33 billion minimum asking price at the recent auction of TV spectrum being reclaimed from TV broadcasters in the switch to full-power digital TV Feb. 17, 2009.

In May, the FCC asked for ideas on how to reauction the spectrum, with comments due June 20 and reply comments July 7.