The D Block should be given over for public safety

On January 25, 2011, in General, by Neil Stevens

Here at RedState I always hesitate before I praise a proposal by a Democrat. This is a site committed to achieving conservative aims through the Republican party, and I agree with that commitment. But once in a while, on issues less politically charged, a Democrat will come up with something reasonable. This is one of those times.

I’ve looked at the issue, thought about the consequences, and I can’t find any reason to oppose the efforts by Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat that he is, to set aside for public safety use the so-called D block of wireless frequencies, efforts he also made last year. We learned on 9/11 that in a crisis we need different public safety groups to be able to talk to each other. It’s not enough to let them go on their own. We see similar issues every time there’s a major wildfire in the west, when expert teams congregate from throughout the region.

It’s important for emergency response teams to be able to coordinate. Some say we’d have gotten more firefighters out of the World Trade Center before collapse, had we built a better public safety communications network by 2001. So as much as I think auctions are a tremendously efficient way to allocate wireless broadcast resources in general, this is a specific case where I think we need to bypass that and simply allocate the D block to a new national safety grid.

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