Criticizing Frontline Wireless’s bid to implement a nationwide open access broadband network for commercial and public safety entities as an effort to “jury-rig” the FCC’s 700 MHz auction, sixteen members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee signed a letter urging the FCC to reject the Frontline plan. Four Republicans, including former House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) and House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), were among the signatories to the June 30 letter, which was delivered to the FCC as the agency continues to consider licensing and band plan rules for the 700 MHz auction. As part of that process, the FCC is reviewing Frontline’s proposal to allocate a swath of commercial 700 MHz spectrum adjacent to reserved public safety channels for a hybrid network to be shared by commercial wireless and public safety concerns. (Although FCC officials had hoped to circulate a draft order among the agency’s commissioners last week, a draft item has yet to surface, and there is no word on when that item is expected to appear.) Charging that the Frontline proposal “would force public safety officials to negotiate with one winner, of one auction, with one pre-determined business plan and no track record of success,” the lawmakers voiced concern that the plan “would harm both the broader auction and our public safety goals.” Arguing “the odds of crafting precisely the right auction conditions, that create precisely the right model, and that result in precisely the right winner, who will then agree to public safety’s requirements are minimal at best,” the letter further warns: “we are likely to be left with no bidder, or a winner who will neither meet the needs of public safety nor relinquish the license without a fight.” As they called on the FCC to reject the Frontline proposal, the lawmakers recommended that the commissioners “stick with [the] proposal in the Ninth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to allow first responders to negotiate with all comers outside the confines of an auction.”