At an en banc hearing moderated by the FCC’s commissioners on Wednesday, officials from the New York police and fire departments and other representatives of the public safety industry asked the FCC’s members to consider licensing the 700 MHz D-block on a regional rather than a national basis. According to those officials, a regional network concept would better suit the needs of first responders, who typically respond to emergencies on a local basis. The hearing, conducted in Brooklyn, comes in the midst of ongoing FCC rulemaking proceedings on the reauctioning of the 700 MHz D-block, which failed to reach the prescribed reserve price during the 700 MHz auction earlier this year. Under rules adopted for that auction, the D-block license had been earmarked for an interoperable nationwide wireless broadband network to be operated by a partnership consisting of the commercial D-block license winner and public safety entities. Voicing fears that “any large entity like that . . . would in effect become a monopoly,” New York Deputy Police Chief Charles Dowd argued that “public safety broadband standards based on local requirements are far more appropriate than struggling to adapt to a single nationwide standard,” particularly as “geography, population density, and building construction all vary between regions.” While asserting that “there is nothing wrong, per se, with the goal of nationwide interoperability,” former New Jersey Attorney General John Farmer observed, “the way that emergencies happen, however, suggests that the best way to achieve interoperability nationwide is by first building it locally and regionally, and then interconnecting the regional interoperable networks.” Although a Verizon official agreed that, “a regional licensing approach would provide greater flexibility,” a spokesman for the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials emphasized that “a national broadband network would ensure that all public safety agencies . . . would have the same opportunities to take advantage of the new world of broadband communications.” FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein also questioned whether a regional licensing scheme could “leave rural areas behind,” as he warned: “there’s an inherent tension between a national system and one that is regional or local.”