Ranking Members Waxman, Eshoo Release Discussion Draft of the Public Safety Broadband and Wireless Innovation Act

Jul 14, 2011

Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, circulated a discussion draft of the Public Safety Broadband and Wireless Innovation Act.  This legislation would create a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network.  It would also provide the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with incentive auction authority to efficiently and responsibly repurpose broadcast spectrum and help fund the public safety network.  Among its other provisions, it would require federal agencies to conduct a comprehensive spectrum inventory and create a federal spectrum strategic plan.

“The draft legislation reflects our view on how we can best help our nation meet its current and future needs for wireless broadband spectrum and address the pressing need to provide public safety with advanced communications capabilities,” said Rep. Waxman.  “There are important differences between our approach and the Republicans’, but I hope that we will be able to work together to develop a bipartisan consensus.” 

“Democrats and Republicans have been working towards a common goal – to put forward much-needed legislation to address our nation’s growing need for spectrum and to provide first responders with a nationwide, interoperable broadband network,” said Rep. Eshoo.  “While much work remains to address these very real needs, I remain optimistic that we can produce a bipartisan bill.  I believe we need to come together for our first responders, innovators, and the American people. 

Rep. Eshoo continued, “What needs to be in any final legislation is straightforward.  We need a nationwide public safety network with a strong governance structure that leverages the commercial sector, as well as provisions that drive cost-efficient devices.   We also need flexible voluntary incentive auctions authority that can free up spectrum for wireless broadband for the foreseeable future.  I also hope that final legislation address our nation’s 9-1-1 call centers and the long-term potential of unlicensed spectrum for our economy.  The draft that I released today with Ranking Member Waxman accomplishes those goals, and I look forward to continuing the discussions with my Republican colleagues.” 

The discussion draft text and summary are below.