TRENTON – The N.J. League of Municipalities has sent a letter to mayors urging them to contact federal lawmakers to protect efforts to establish a nationwide public safety communications network.
The League is specifically requesting mayors get in touch with U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone and Leonard Lance, who are members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Among other things, the League backs legislation that would use proceeds from spectrum auctions to offset the cost of network operations and maintenance; and reallocate the “D block’’ of the 700 MHz to public safety uses.
According to the League, a draft bill released by the committee in July would apply a sunset provision on the narrowband voice use of 700 MHz after 10 years.
The result, according to the League, would be to burden towns with high costs while removing the ability to upgrade to a nationwide public safety network.
“All 50 governors and all the major national associations representing state and local governments support reallocation of the D Block to public safety,” the League stated in a release. “In the Senate, as well as other House Committees, reallocation of the D Block has been a bipartisan issue. This has only become contentious in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.”
According to the League, the so-called “D block’’ will give first-responders reliable, priority communications that commercial networks cannot guarantee, and it will provide first-responders with mission-critical communication access.