Ohio last week submitted a formal request for the FCC to grant a waiver that would allow the state to use public-safety broadband spectrum in the 700 MHz band, although an official for the state acknowledged that the filing was largely a symbolic gesture.

“We just want to make sure that the folks in Washington, D.C., and the FCC know we’re ready to go to work on [public-safety broadband],” said Darryl Anderson, administrator for Ohio’s statewide interoperability executive committee. “We’re ready to do this from a leadership/governance model [standpoint], but we need all the assistance we can get from the feds on the funding.”

Federal funding certainly is a possibility, after the enactment of a law in February that reallocated the 700 MHz D Block spectrum to public safety and called for $7 billion for the buildout of a nationwide LTE network for first responders.

While public-safety officials view the new law as a significant victory, the passage of the legislation likely meant that the FCC will not grant any more 700 MHz waivers, according to Beltway sources. After all, the FCC has no rights over the D Block, and the existing 700 MHz broadband spectrum will leave the agency’s jurisdiction in upcoming months.

Anderson said Ohio officials understand the landscape but opted to file the waiver request anyway.

“The logic is to get a marker in there,” he said. “If they would grant a waiver, we would ratchet up our planning and governance. But all the experts on this that we consulted said it was still logical to get the waiver in, so folks would know that we’re ready, although there’s no great expectation that they’re going to grant any waivers here in the next few months.”

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