New York Republican Peter King has made national headlines in 2011 with his congressional hearings on the (dis)loyalties of Muslim-Americans. However, that is not the only trouble he has been stirring up. The media largely missed his recent introduction of House Resolution 607, which would auction off for commercial use the frequency bands used by amateur radio operators (for the purpose of funding the use of other frequency bands by the police in emergencies). The American Radio Relay League fumes:
On February 10, 2011, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced H.R. 607, the “Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011,” which has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee (which handles telecommunications legislation).
The Bill provides for the allocation of the so-called “D-Block” of spectrum in the 700 MHz range for Public Safety use. HR 607 uniquely, provides for the reallocation of other spectrum for auction to commercial users, in order to offset the loss of revenue that would occur as the result of the allocation of the D-Block to Public Safety instead of commercial auction. H.R. 607 lists, among the bands to be reallocated for commercial auction within ten years of the passage of the Bill, the paired bands 420-440 MHz and 450-470 MHz.
The inclusion of most of the Amateur 70-cm spectrum as one of the replacement bands is a major problem. While the ARRL and all Amateurs support the work of Public Safety and recognize their need for dedicated spectrum which would promote interoperability, the ARRL vigorously opposes HR 607 in its present form. HR 607 is a direct threat to our limited spectrum and the ARRL encourages all amateurs to appropriately voice their opposition to this bill.