By a vote of 4-1, the FCC approved a further rulemaking notice yesterday that sets forth proposed rules covering the reauction and licensing of the 700 MHz D-block that, in turn, is earmarked for a wireless broadband network to be shared by commercial and public safety entities. At least two of the FCC’s commissioners, however, warned that flaws in the proposed rules and the prospect of conducting a reauction in the midst of the current credit market crisis could result in a repeat of last spring’s 700 MHz auction, during which the D-block went unsold. Like the draft item outlined earlier this month by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, the notice proposes one auction that would offer a nationwide license as well as two sets of regional licenses. The ultimate licensing scheme (i.e., national vs. regional) would depend on whether a bidder comes forth to post the nationwide reserve price, which would be lowered from $1.3 billion to $750 million. Among other things, coverage requirements would also be eased, the build-out period would be extended from ten years to fifteen, and annual lease fees imposed by the Public Safety Spectrum Trust on the commercial D-block winner would be capped at $5 million. Issuing a partial dissent, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein charged that even the lowered nationwide reserve of $750 million could be excessive and that the winning bidder could put those funds to better use on network deployment. Arguing, “our first priority should be helping our first responders, not raising money,” Adelstein declared: “in light of the unprecedented credit crunch facing our nation’s economy, it is irresponsible for an expert agency to pull numbers out of thin air that generate revenue for the Treasury but deprive the private sector of the means to accomplish our ultimate goal of a viable public safety network.” Despite applauding Martin “for putting public safety front and center,” Commissioner Michael Copps concurred on grounds that “we have a still inadequate grasp of the precise contours of what it is that we propose to build.” While voicing support for the item, Commissioner Deborah Tate sounded a note of caution, asserting that, “given the historic economic crisis on Wall Street that now threatens Main Street, we must . . . call upon those involved in the banking and financial markets to share their knowledge and experience—including any difficulties licensees may face regarding access to capital at this time.”