Terming the deployment of broadband as “the number one priority for the Commission,” FCC Chairman Kevin Martin stressed the importance of the upcoming 700 MHz auction in reaching that goal as he endorsed a proposal that would carve a joint commercial-public safety wireless network out of a swath of spectrum within the 700 MHz band. Martin delivered his remarks yesterday before an audience at the Microsoft Silicon Valley campus. Asserting that broadband “can drive economic growth and impacts areas such as health care delivery and education,” Martin told his listeners that the 700 MHz auction (to consist of spectrum reclaimed from television broadcasters as part of the digital TV transition) offered the opportunity of establishing wireless technology as a third broadband pipe beyond cable modem and digital subscriber line services. As it crafts final rules during the next few months on geographical licensing and other issues pertaining to 700 MHz wireless systems, the FCC will also consider a proposal, submitted by Frontline Wireless, that would reserve 700 MHz channels adjacent to reserved public safety spectrum for a nationwide open access broadband network to be shared by public safety and commercial entities. Voicing support for the plan, Martin said, “one of the things that I think we need to do is [to consider] the potential to have some . . . public-private partnerships that would allow for cross-utilization of the spectrum.” Martin also asserted “the question is one of how to work with [the] private sector,” as he noted: “public safety [agencies] are coming to us to say they don’t have the resources to build out a next-generation network.”