When I hear the term, “D-block spectrum”, I think back to my old life as a criminal defense attorney and having to visit clients behind bars. Since policy makers and legislators want to conduct a prison break on this particular portion of the spectrum, I figure we may as well explore a few basics.
Way back in 2005, Congress passed the Digital Transition and Public Safety Act. Section 3006 of the Act required the Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security to implement a $1 billion grant program to assist public safety agencies in acquiring, deploying, or training in the use of interoperable communications systems that use reallocated public safety spectrum.
Reallocated public safety spectrum is defined under the Act as bands of spectrum located at 764MHz -776 MHz and 794MHz – 806MHz.
Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission would auction portions of the spectrum reallocated under the Act (758-763MHz and 788-793MHz bands) to private entities so that they in turn could enter into partnerships with public safety agencies to use, operate, and deploy interoperable networks.
The FCC‘s auctioning plan has not been successful so now, so we are back to square one. Meanwhile, Congress is trying to determine whether it should continue with the FCC’s version of a halfway house or simply release spectrum directly into the custody of public safety agencies.