Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Title VI Public Safety Communications and Electromagnetic Spectrum Auctions, Pub. L. No. 112-96 (Feb. 22, 2012) (full-text).
The Act required the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create a program to improve emergency communications throughout the country by facilitating coordination and communication among federal, state, and local emergency communications systems, emergency personnel, public safety organizations, telecommunications providers, and telecommunications equipment manufacturers and vendors involved in the implementation of 911 services. The Act established FirstNet as an independent authority within the NTIA to develop a single nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network.
The Act also included provisions to expedite the availability of spectrum for commercial use. These include expediting auctions of licenses for spectrum designated for mobile broadband; authorizing incentive auctions, which would permit television broadcasters to receive compensation for steps they might take to release some of their airwaves for mobile broadband; requiring that specified federal holdings be auctioned or reassigned for commercial use; and providing for the availability of spectrum for unlicensed use.
The Act also includes provisions to apply future spectrum license auction revenues toward deficit reduction; to establish a planning and governance structure to deploy public safety broadband networks, using some auction proceeds for that purpose; and to assign additional spectrum resources for public safety communications.