H.R. 607 (112th): Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Feb 10, 2011 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 607

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 10, 2011

(for himself, Mr. Thompson of Mississippi, Mr. Rogers of Alabama, Ms. Clarke of New York, Mrs. Miller of Michigan, Mr. Long, and Mr. Grimm) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

A BILL

To enhance public safety by making more spectrum available to public safety agencies, to facilitate the development of a wireless public safety broadband network, to provide standards for the spectrum needs of public safety agencies, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short Title

This Act may be cited as the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011.

(b)

Table of Contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

TITLE I—Allocation and assignment of public safety licenses

Sec. 101. Findings.

Sec. 102. Allocation and assignment of public safety licenses.

Sec. 103. Standards.

Sec. 104. Rule of construction.

TITLE II—Funding

Sec. 201. Definitions.

Sec. 202. Funding.

Sec. 203. Public safety interoperable broadband network construction.

Sec. 204. Public safety interoperable broadband maintenance and operation.

Sec. 205. Audits.

Sec. 206. Auction of spectrum to fund the interoperable broadband network construction fund, and the operation and maintenance fund.

Sec. 207. Achieving long-term interoperability by consolidating band use by public safety agencies.

Sec. 208. Extension of auction authority and assurance of open auctions.

Sec. 209. Report on efficient use of public safety spectrum.

Sec. 210. Report on long-term interoperability using IP-based solutions.

I

Allocation and assignment of public safety licenses

101.

Findings

The Congress finds the following:

(1)

The communications capabilities of first responders and other public safety agencies directly affect the public safety of the people of the United States and our national security.

(2)

As events such as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina revealed, the inability of local, State, tribal, and Federal first responders to communicate effectively during an emergency impairs operations to respond to terrorist acts and natural disasters.

(3)

Many public safety communications systems rely on commercially available systems that lack broadband capabilities or otherwise fail to provide the level of service necessary to meet the mission-critical needs of public safety agencies.

(4)

A wireless public safety broadband network is needed to guarantee priority access for public safety use and first responder interoperability across the United States.

(5)

Allocating the paired electromagnetic spectrum bands of 758–763 megahertz and 788–793 megahertz, referred to as the D Block, to public safety agencies will fulfill public safety agencies needs for sufficient spectrum and would help reduce the complexity and future operating cost of public safety communications systems.

(6)

Because the communications needs of public safety agencies may differ by geographic region (including whether they require a dedicated communications system or can rely on a system shared with commercial users), each region requires flexibility to develop a model that meets its local needs without sacrificing the interoperability of the nationwide system.

(7)

The most timely and cost-effective way to achieve nationwide interoperability in public safety communications will be to leverage commercial infrastructure without compromising the mission-critical needs of public safety agencies.

(8)

The use by public safety agencies of standardized technologies commonly employed in the commercial telecommunications sector will provide significant benefits, including improved capabilities, greater economies of scale, and more rapid adoption of technological innovations.

(9)

When it is in the interest of public safety, the Federal Communications Commission should encourage any public safety licensee or spectrum lessee to consider using existing or planned commercial infrastructure.

102.

Allocation and assignment of public safety licenses

(a)

Spectrum Allocation

Section 337(a) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 337(a)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking 24 and inserting 34; and

(2)

in paragraph (2), by striking 36 and inserting 26.

(b)

Assignment

Section 337(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 337(b)) is amended to read as follows:

(b)

Assignment

(1)

In general

Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011, the Commission shall allocate the paired electromagnetic spectrum bands of 758–763 megahertz and 788–793 megahertz for public safety broadband communications and shall license such paired bands to the public safety broadband licensee.

(2)

Establishment of rules

(A)

In general

The Commission shall establish rules to permit the public safety broadband licensee to authorize providers of public safety services to construct and operate a wireless public safety broadband network in the spectrum licensed to the public safety broadband licensee if the public safety broadband licensee determines that such authorization would expedite the deployment of public safety broadband communications.

(B)

Network requirements

The Commission shall require that any such wireless public safety broadband network shall—

(i)

be fully interoperable and remain interoperable with, and in conformance with the same broadband technology standards as, all other public safety broadband systems deployed or authorized;

(ii)

provide for roaming by local, State, tribal, and Federal governments and other authorized users of the spectrum licensed to the public safety broadband licensee;

(iii)

provide priority access to public safety agencies;

(iv)

be built to survive most large-scale disasters;

(v)

ensure that networks of such systems have the appropriate level of cyber security;

(vi)

ensure that authorized users have control over all local network uses consistent with rules established by the Commission; and

(vii)

be consistent with the Statewide Interoperable Communications Plans adopted by each State and the National Emergency Communications Plan, as adopted by the Department of Homeland Security.

(C)

Deadlines

(i)

Rules

The Commission shall establish rules under this paragraph not later than 9 months after the date of enactment of the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011.

(ii)

Report

(I)

In general

Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011, the public safety broadband licensee shall submit a report to the appropriate committees of Congress on the phased network deployment plan of such spectrum bands.

(II)

Definitions

For purposes of subclause (I), the term appropriate committees of Congress means—

(aa)

the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate;

(bb)

the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate;

(cc)

the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives; and

(dd)

the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives.

.

(c)

Network-Sharing Agreements

Section 337 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 337) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating subsection (f) as subsection (g); and

(2)

by inserting after subsection (e) the following:

(f)

Rulemaking Required

The Commission shall establish regulations to—

(1)

authorize the shared use of the public safety broadband spectrum and network infrastructure by entities that are not defined as public safety services in subsection (g)(1), subject to the requirement that public safety services retain priority access to the spectrum, pursuant to procedures adopted by the Commission, so long as the needs of other governmental entities needs are considered before commercial entities; and

(2)

allow use of the public safety broadband spectrum by emergency response providers, as defined in section 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101).

.

(d)

Definition

Section 337(g) of the Communications Act of 1934 (as so redesignated) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as paragraphs (3) and (4), respectively; and

(2)

by inserting before paragraph (3), as so redesignated, the following:

(1)

Public safety broadband licensee

The term public safety broadband licensee means a licensee as defined by the Commission in its Second Report and Order adopted July 31, 2007 (FCC 07–132), and selected in the Commission's Order adopted November 19, 2007 (FCC 07–199), by the Commission to be the licensee for spectrum between 763–768 and 793–798 megahertz.

(2)

Public safety broadband spectrum

The term public safety broadband spectrum means the electromagnetic spectrum between 758 megahertz and 768 megahertz, inclusive, and 788 megahertz and 798 megahertz, inclusive, and any additional electromagnetic frequencies allocated by the Commission for public safety broadband use.

.

103.

Standards

(a)

Interoperability Requirements

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, in consultation with the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and local, State, tribal, and Federal public safety agencies, shall develop a public safety agency statement of requirements that enables nationwide interoperability and roaming across any communications system using public safety broadband spectrum, as defined in section 337(g) of the Communications Act of 1934.

(b)

Specifications

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, shall establish an appropriate standard, or set of standards, for meeting the public safety agency statement requirements developed under subsection (a), taking into consideration—

(1)

the extent to which particular technologies and user equipment are, or are likely to be, available in the commercial marketplace;

(2)

the availability of necessary technologies and equipment on reasonable and nondiscriminatory licensing terms;

(3)

the ability to evolve with technological developments in the commercial marketplace;

(4)

the ability to accommodate prioritization for public safety transmissions;

(5)

the ability to accommodate appropriate security measures for public safety transmissions; and

(6)

any other considerations the Federal Communications Commission deems appropriate.

104.

Rule of construction

Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to overturn, supersede, or otherwise preempt the Federal Communication Commission's Order adopted on November 19, 2007 (FCC 07–199), setting forth the roles and responsibilities of the public safety broadband licensee (as such term is defined in section 337(g) of the Communications Act of 1934) and the Federal Communications Commission, except that the following may, by rule or order, be modified by the Commission:

(1)

Any organization seeking membership to the board of directors of the public safety broadband licensee may be voted in by a simple majority of the then serving members of the Board of Directors.

(2)

The Board of Directors of the Public Safety Broadband Licensee shall include the following organizations:

(A)

International Association of Chiefs of Police.

(B)

International Association of Fire Chiefs.

(C)

National Sheriffs' Association.

(D)

International Association of Fire Fighters.

(E)

National Volunteer Fire Council.

(F)

Fraternal Order of Police.

(G)

Major Cities Chiefs Association.

(H)

Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association.

(I)

Major County Sheriffs' Association.

(J)

Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, International.

(K)

National Emergency Management Association.

(L)

International Association of Emergency Managers.

(M)

Police Executive Research Forum.

(N)

National Criminal Justice Association.

(O)

National Association of Police Organizations.

(P)

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

(Q)

Association of Air Medical Services.

(R)

Advocates for Emergency Medical Services.

(S)

Emergency Nurses Association.

(T)

National Association of Emergency Medical Services Physicians.

(U)

National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.

(V)

National Association of State Emergency Medical Service Officials.

(W)

National Emergency Medical Services Management Association.

(X)

International Municipal Signal Association.

(Y)

American Probation and Parole Association.

(Z)

National Governors Association.

(AA)

National Association of Counties.

(BB)

National League of Cities.

(CC)

United States Conference of Mayors.

(DD)

Council of State Governments.

(EE)

International City/County Managers Association.

(FF)

National Conference of State Legislatures.

(GG)

National Association of Regional Councils.

(HH)

Utilities Telecom Council.

(II)

American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials.

(JJ)

American Hospital Association.

(KK)

Forestry Conservation Communications Association.

(LL)

National Association of State 911 Administrators.

(MM)

National Troopers Coalition.

(NN)

National Emergency Numbers Association.

II

Funding

201.

Definitions

In this title—

(1)

the term Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information;

(2)

the term appropriate committees of Congress means—

(A)

the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate;

(B)

the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate;

(C)

the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives; and

(D)

the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives;

(3)

the term Construction Fund means the Public Safety Interoperable Broadband Network Construction Fund established under section 202;

(4)

the term Maintenance and Operation Fund means the Public Safety Interoperable Broadband Network Maintenance and Operation Fund established under section 202; and

(5)

the term Secretary means the Secretary of Homeland Security.

202.

Funding

(a)

Establishment of Funds

(1)

Construction fund

(A)

Establishment

There is established in the Treasury of the United States a fund to be known as the Public Safety Interoperable Broadband Network Construction Fund.

(B)

Purpose

The Secretary shall establish and administer the grant program under section 203 using the funds deposited in the Construction Fund.

(C)

Credit

(i)

Borrowing authority

The Secretary may borrow from the general fund of the Treasury beginning October 1, 2011, such sums as may be necessary, but not to exceed $2,000,000,000, to implement section 203.

(ii)

Reimbursement

The Secretary of the Treasury shall reimburse the general fund of the Treasury, without interest, for any amounts borrowed under clause (i) as funds are deposited into the Construction Fund, but in no case later than December 31, 2014.

(2)

Maintenance and operation fund

(A)

Establishment

There is established in the Treasury of the United States a fund to be known as the Public Safety Interoperable Broadband Network Maintenance and Operation Fund.

(B)

Purpose

The Secretary shall use the funds deposited in the Maintenance and Operation Fund to carry out section 204.

(b)

Initial Distribution of Auction Proceeds in Funds

Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (D) of section 309(j)(8) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)(8)), the Secretary of the Treasury shall deposit the proceeds (including deposits and upfront payments from successful bidders) from the auction of the spectrum described in section 205 in the following manner:

(1)

All proceeds less than or equal to $5,500,000,000 shall be deposited in the Construction Fund and shall be made available to the Secretary without further appropriations.

(2)

Any proceeds exceeding $5,500,000,000 shall be deposited in the Maintenance and Operation Fund and shall be made available to the Secretary without further appropriations.

(c)

Transfer of Funds at Completion of Construction

The Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer to the Maintenance and Operation Fund any funds remaining in the Construction Fund after the date of the completion of the construction phase, as determined by the Secretary.

(d)

Transfer of Funds to Treasury

The Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer to the general fund of the Treasury any funds remaining in the Maintenance and Operation Fund after the end of the 10-year period following receipt of notice by the Secretary of Homeland Security that construction of the nationwide system has been completed.

(e)

Authorization of Appropriations

(1)

Construction fund

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for deposit in the Construction Fund in and after fiscal year 2012 an amount not to exceed the amount set forth in paragraph (3).

(2)

Maintenance and operation fund

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for deposit in the Maintenance and Operation Fund in and after fiscal year 2012 an amount not to exceed the amount set forth in paragraph (3).

(3)

Limitation

The authorization of appropriations under paragraphs (1) and (2) may not exceed a total of $5,500,000,000.

203.

Public safety interoperable broadband network construction

(a)

Construction Grant Program Establishment

The Secretary shall take such action as is necessary to establish a grant program to assist public safety entities to establish a nationwide public safety interoperable broadband network in the 700 megahertz band.

(b)

Projects

The projects for which construction grants may be made under this section are the following:

(1)

Construction of a new public safety interoperable broadband network using public safety infrastructure or commercial infrastructure, or both, in the 700 megahertz band.

(2)

Improvement of the existing public safety and commercial networks and construction of new infrastructure to meet public safety requirements.

(c)

Matching Requirements

(1)

Federal share

The Federal share of the cost of carrying out a project under this section may not exceed 80 percent of the eligible costs of carrying out a project, as determined by the Secretary in consultation with the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

(2)

Non-federal share

The non-Federal share of the cost of carrying out a project under this section may be provided through an in-kind contribution.

(d)

Requirements

Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish grant program requirements including the following:

(1)

Defining entities that are eligible to receive a grant under this section.

(2)

Defining eligible costs for purposes of subsection (c)(1).

(3)

Determining the scope of network infrastructure eligible for grant funding under this section.

(4)

Conditioning grant funding on compliance with the Federal Communications Commission's license terms.

(5)

Ensuring that all grant funds are in compliance with and support the goals of the National Emergency Communications Plan and the Statewide Communication Interoperability Plans for each State and territory.

(e)

Technical Assistance

The Secretary will enhance the Office of Emergency Communications Technical Assistance Program to assist grantees with best practices and guidance in implementing these projects.

204.

Public safety interoperable broadband maintenance and operation

(a)

Maintenance and Operation Reimbursement Program

The Secretary shall administer a program through which not more than 50 percent of maintenance and operational expenses associated with the public safety interoperable broadband network may be reimbursed from the Maintenance and Operation Fund for those expenses that are attributable to the maintenance, operation, and improvement of the public safety interoperable broadband network.

(b)

Report

Not later than 7 years after the commencement of the reimbursement program established under subsection (a), the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on whether to continue to provide funding for the Maintenance and Operation Fund following completion of the period provided for under section 202(d).

205.

Audits

(a)

In General

Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, and every 3 years thereafter, the Comptroller General of the United States shall perform an audit of the financial statements, records, and accounts of the—

(1)

Public Safety Interoperable Broadband Network Construction Fund established under section 202(a)(1);

(2)

Public Safety Interoperable Broadband Network Maintenance and Operation Fund established under section 202(a)(2);

(3)

construction grant program established under section 203; and

(4)

maintenance and operation grant program established under section 204.

(b)

GAAP

Each audit required under subsection (a) shall be conducted in accordance with generally accepted accounting procedures.

(c)

Report to Congress

A copy of each audit required under subsection (a) shall be submitted to the appropriate committees of Congress.

206.

Auction of spectrum to fund the interoperable broadband network construction fund, and the operation and maintenance fund

(a)

In General

(1)

Reallocation of spectrum

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Assistant Secretary shall reallocate for commercial use electromagnetic spectrum at 1755–1780 megahertz.

(2)

Auction

Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications Commission shall establish rules for pairing electromagnetic spectrum bands at 1755–1780 megahertz and 2155–2180 megahertz, inclusive, and auction the licenses for such paired spectrum in accordance of section 309(j).

207.

Achieving long-term interoperability by consolidating band use by public safety agencies

(a)

Mandating Migration of Public Safety Entities and Federal Law Enforcement

(1)

Require migration by public safety entities

Not later than 8 years after the date of enactment of the Act, each public safety entities shall end their use of radio spectrum above 420 megahertz and below 512 megahertz and begin to use alternative radio spectrum licensed to public safety services in the 700 megahertz and 800 megahertz bands.

(2)

Require use by federal law enforcement

Not later than 10 years after the date of enactment of this Act, each Federal law enforcement agency shall move all of their communications, not being carried on commercial networks, to spectrum located in the 700 megahertz and 800 megahertz bands.

(b)

GAO Study

Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study and submit a report to the appropriate committees of Congress that identifies those parts of the radio spectrum above 174 megahertz and below 512 megahertz used by public safety entities that should be returned to the Federal Communications Commission for auction in accordance with subsection (d).

(c)

Migration Plan Developed by FCC and DHS

(1)

In general

Not later than 6 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications Commission, in consultation with the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary, and Federal, State and local public safety agencies, shall issue a report, detailing the plan for public safety entities to end their use of radio spectrum above 170 megahertz and below 512 megahertz and move all use to the radio spectrum licensed to public safety services, in the 700 megahertz and 800 megahertz bands.

(2)

Facilitation of migration

The Secretary shall make amounts available out of the maintenance and operation grant program established under section 204 to facilitate the migration of public safety entity use of the radio spectrum licensed to public safety services in the 700 megahertz and 800 megahertz bands in accordance with the plan developed under paragraph (1).

(d)

Recovered Public Safety Spectrum

(1)

Auction

Not later than 10 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the paired electromagnetic spectrum bands of 420–440 megahertz and 450–470 megahertz recovered as a result of the report and order required under subsection (c) shall be auctioned off by the Federal Communications Commission through a system of competitive bidding meeting the requirements of section 309 of the Communications Act of 1934.

(2)

Encouraged use of certain authority

In making the recovered spectrum identified under paragraph (1) available through auction, the Commission is encouraged to use its authority under sections 303 and 316 of the Act to configure the spectrum in a manner that increases the value of the recovered spectrum for commercial use.

(3)

Proceeds

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all proceeds (including deposits and upfront payments from successful bidders) from the auction required under this subsection shall be deposited in the Treasury in accordance with chapter 33 of title 31, United States Code.

208.

Extension of auction authority and assurance of open auctions

(a)

Extension of auction authority

Section 309(j)(11) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)(11)) is amended by striking 2012 and inserting 2020.

(b)

Eligibility

The Commission shall ensure that no bidder is deemed ineligible for or otherwise excluded from an auction specified in this Act, or any other competitive bidding process under section 309(j) of the Communications Act, on account of its size or amount of its other spectrum holdings.

209.

Report on efficient use of public safety spectrum

Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act and every 3 years thereafter, the Federal Communications Commission shall conduct a study and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report—

(1)

on the spectrum held by the public safety broadband licensee;

(2)

on how efficiently such spectrum is being used; and

(3)

that provide a recommendation for whether more spectrum needs to be made available to meet the needs of public safety entities.

210.

Report on long-term interoperability using IP-based solutions

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications Commission, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Assistant Secretary, shall issue a report and order, after allowing time for notice and comment, including comment from public safety users, and submit such report the appropriate committees of Congress, on whether Internet Protocol-enabled solutions could aid interoperability.