On Tuesday, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced wide-sweeping legislation that, in addition to requiring direct allocation of 700 MHz D-block frequencies to the public safety sector, permits the FCC to conduct incentive auctions that would give television broadcasters a share of auction proceeds in exchange for voluntarily surrendering their spectrum to wireless entities. The bill closely resembles a measure, sponsored by Rockefeller during the previous congressional session last August, that also mandated reallocation for the 700 MHz band instead of auctions as proposed by the FCC. Like the previous bill, Tuesday’s measure is co-sponsored by Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), and Tom Harkin (D-IA). Putting itself at odds with FCC recommendations that the D-block be reauctioned, the Obama Administration also confirmed its support for the Rockefeller bill or for any other measure that calls for reallocation of D-block frequencies to public safety. In the coming weeks, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Jay Lieberman (I-CT) is expected to join with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in reintroducing a separate bill that would also require reallocation of the D-block to public safety, and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY) is expected to follow with similar legislation in the House. The Rockefeller bill authorizes $11 billion in appropriations for construction and maintenance of the network and, among other things, also (1) extends the FCC’s auction authority through 2020, (2) directs the NTIA to identify at least 25 MHz of spectrum in the 1675-1710 MHz band that the FCC would have to auction along with advanced wireless services spectrum in the 2155-2180 MHz band, and (3) requires the FCC to “establish rural build-out targets for the public safety broadband network, including targets for states or smaller areas.” With respect to incentive auctions, the bill would allow the FCC to decide the amount of proceeds to go to any broadcaster that surrenders spectrum and emphasizes that broadcaster participation must be truly voluntary. A spokesman for the Public Safety Alliance, an advocate of reallocation, praised Rockefeller for “his willingness to listen to public safety and work with us to find a solution that will improve the way our nation’s first responders communicate.” Meanwhile, Gordon Smith, the president of the National Association of Broadcasters, promised to “work closely with Congress as it crafts spectrum legislation that preserves the ability of local TV stations to serve our viewers.”