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Implementing Public Safety Broadband Provisions of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job
Creation Act of 2012, PS Docket No. 12-94; Implementing a Nationwide, Broadband,
Interoperable Public Safety Network in the 700 MHz Band, PS Docket No. 06-229; Service Rules
for the 698–746, 747–762, and 777–792 MHz Bands, WT Docket No. 06-150
Last year, Congress required the Commission to grant a license to the First Responder Network
Authority (FirstNet) for the purpose of establishing “a nationwide, interoperable public safety network.”1
In order to ensure that this network truly would be nationwide and not leave rural America behind,
Congress obligated FirstNet to undertake, “consistent with the license” granted by the Commission,
“deployment phases with substantial rural coverage milestones as part of each phase of the construction
and deployment of the network.”2
Because FirstNet must demonstrate to the Commission in its license renewal application that it
“has met the duties and obligations set forth under th[e] Act,”3 I believe that the Commission has the
statutory authority to impose rural coverage conditions on FirstNet’s license. While today’s Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking indicates that the Commission currently does not intend to specify any such
conditions, I will approach the record that will be compiled on this issue with an open mind and
encourage rural stakeholders to weigh in with their views. In reaching a final decision, we must balance
the need to provide FirstNet with sufficient flexibility with our responsibility to safeguard fellow citizens
who live in rural areas.

1 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, 126 Stat. 156, § 6202(a) (emphasis
2 Id. § 6206(b)(3).
3 Id. § 6201(b)(2).

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