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Public Safety Spectrum Legislation Not Included in Payroll Tax Cut Bill

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For more than a year, Congress has been trying to hammer out spectrum legislation that includes funding for a national public safety network.

In early December, House GOP leaders tacked on an approved version of spectrum legislation to the one-year extension of the payroll-tax cut, passed by the House last week.

However in an 89-10 vote, the Senate dropped the spectrum legislation from a version of the payroll tax bill passed Saturday.

On Friday, President Obama signed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, not including spectrum legislation.

While both the House and Senate favor spectrum legislation, each chamber has different ideas on what it should look like according to a Broadcast Engineering report.

The Senate version would create a nonprofit corporation to oversee construction and management of the network, while the House version wants an outside administrator to supervise the process.

Spectrum legislation looks to free up more spectrum for wireless broadband technologies by giving broadcasters money in return for some of their airwaves.

Some of the airwaves would be auctioned to wireless companies, and some would be reserved for the government.

If passed, the legislation would fund the creation of a national broadband network for public safety officials. The network would run off of the government’s reserved spectrum. The proposed network would allow first responders to send multitudes of data including videos and pictures during emergencies.

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