Nextel Communications co-founder Morgan O'Brien has filed a proposal suggesting the FCC set aside spectrum in the 700 MHz band, in addition to the 24 MHz already allocated for future public safety communication purposes, to create a nationwide wireless network for first responders. The spectrum is located in the frequency band affected by the DTV legislation passed by Congress in February. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House subcommittee on telecommunications, and Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association, oppose the new plan. Upton and Largent both note the 24 MHz of spectrum already designated for public safety use, and that $1 billion of the spectrum auction proceeds are to be used to pay for public safety communications. Largent says opening up "a new debate would arrest the progress Congress has made in providing both the spectrum and funding that it has pledged to public safety."
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