Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs President Bill O'Shea, in testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology this week, called on the federal government set aside a specific spectrum in the 700 MHz band to be used exclusively by first responders nationwide for a dedicated, secure, interoperable nationwide broadband communications network.

The company said in a press release that the optimal location for a national first responder broadband information network would be in the C and D blocks of the upper 700 MHz band.

Lucent also said the upper 700 MHz band has “significant operational advantages for public safety and offers significant cost advantages to the taxpayer,” because of lower deployment costs. Fewer towers are needed because upper 700 MHz transmissions propagate more efficiently than transmissions in other bands. In addition, transmissions in the upper 700 MHz band penetrate buildings more easily, a significant problem described at length in the 9/11 Commission's report, the company said.