As the FCC continues to ponder the ultimate course it will take with respect to the 700 MHz D-block, an official of Verizon Wireless defended a proposal, championed by the New York City police and fire departments, to license the D-block on a local or regional basis to public safety entities, while voicing optimism that, “given the new administration and the new Congress, there’s every reason to believe that new approaches and new thinking will be embraced.” Under rules adopted by the FCC for last year’s 700 MHz auction, the D-block was earmarked for an interoperable nationwide wireless broadband network that would be operated by a partnership linking the commercial D-block auction winner with public safety entities. That license, however, failed to sell, prompting the FCC to launch proceedings on revisions to the D-block rules that would lower reserve prices and provide other enticements to encourage bidding and that, depending on various factors, would reauction the D-block as a single nationwide license or as a system of regional, interoperable networks. In a speech delivered at a Washington, D.C. policy event, however, Verizon Wireless General Counsel Steve Zipperstein advocated an alternative approach that, in lieu of auctions, would allocate D-block spectrum directly to public safety agencies that, in turn, would develop that spectrum according to local needs while adhering to common technical standards that would ensure interoperability across networks. Stressing that a nationwide D-block license “would require public safety to commit to a single model that may not satisfy their individual requirements,” Zipperstein maintained that the establishment of “local or regional partnerships that are tailored specifically to meet the needs of individual public safety agencies across the country is more likely to achieve the nation’s overarching objectives than attempting to establish a single national partnership through an auction.” Such a model, added Zipperstein, would enable a large number of commercial wireless operators “to partner with public safety and gain access to shared spectrum” to ensure that public safety “get[s] the best possible partner for the best possible price for the taxpayer.” Although Zipperstein proclaimed that support for the initiative “is gaining considerable momentum in the public safety community,” a spokesman for the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (which strongly advocates a nationwide network), observed: “there are ways to do this . . . that will give them what they want without destroying the whole nationwide concept.”