Motorola co-CEO Greg Brown yesterday reiterated his company’s position that Congress should reallocate the 700 MHz D Block from commercial use to public safety, so the airwaves could be used to support a nationwide broadband network for first responders.

During a press conference at Motorola’s headquarters to announce the launch of the company’s next-generation public-safety solutions, Brown identified the need for additional spectrum and adequate funding as the top challenges in the future of first-responder communications.

“The federal government has to do its part in making more spectrum available to public safety to deploy these advanced services,” Brown said. “We do believe the D Block should not be auctioned and should be allocated to public safety.”

Currently, the FCC plans to auction the D Block to commercial operators early next year, as mandated by existing law. Organizations representing public safety and state and local governments have asked Congress to reallocate the D Block to public safety, and the U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced legislation to that effect.

Brown said federal officials are aware of Motorola’s position on the subject, although the company has “not been proactive” in its lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.

“[The public-safety and government associations] seem to be doing rallying just fine representing the customer view why,” Brown said. “We agree with them, but we don’t see a need to reinforce at this point in time.”

Under the FCC plan, public safety would be allowed to build networks on its 10 MHz of spectrum licensed to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST). If an incident required public safety to utilize more capacity than its 10 MHz, public-safety agencies would be given priority access when roaming roam onto commercial carrier networks operating in the 700 MHz band.

Brown acknowledged that there may be opportunities for public-safety agencies to leverage commercial carrier networks as a complement to its own mission-critical networks, he strongly disagreed with those who claim that commercial networks are more likely to work than public-safety networks when significant incidents or disasters occur.

“[Commercial networks] are not more resilient or more likely to be available, without equivocation,” Brown said. “The cellular network is not built that way. Otherwise, they would have to doubling or tripling their capital expenditures. They’re just not designed that way or regulated that way.”

Brown questioned the ability of commercial networks to handle additional capacity requirements from public-safety users during an incident, because usage patterns can spike in a single cell sector as multiple responder agencies try to establish communications in a relatively small geographic area.

“Public-carrier networks are staining to handle the demand for smart phone. They’re straining to deliver mobile Internet. Some are straining to deliver consistent phone calls,” Brown said. “This is a different network. You don’t share this network; you don’t ‘hope’ it’s there. It needs to be 100% bulletproof and dedicated. You can’t have sharing algorithms bet on the come-on a push-to-talk, mission-critical access button, which is why it’s so fundamental and why our customers feel so strongly about it.”

Multiple Motorola officials expressed concern whether commercial operators could justify the expense associated with granting public safety priority-access roaming in the manner desired by first-responder agencies.

In addition, Motorola believes a guard band will be necessary between the D Block and the PSST block, unless public safety builds its network in cooperation with the D Block licensee. Last week, the FCC granted waivers to 21 public-safety entities to begin pursing the buildout of broadband networks utilizing the entire 10 MHz of PSST spectrum.

“It was always contemplated that they would be used together, so there’s no guard band requirements there right now,” said Gene Delaney, Motorola’s president of enterprise mobility solutions, during an interview. “When you start to introduce a guard band, it changes the amount of spectrum that’s available to begin with. If you have multiple operators using that D Block spectrum for public use, you create interference issue. We’ve talked at length about interference.”

Multiple Motorola officials said they believe the company’s equipment will be deployed in 700 MHz public-safety broadband pilots by the end of this year.