unable to resolve issues that were thwarting deployment.

Tauzin agreed that freeing up the public safety channels was "not as easy as it might sound." He said he would feel more comfortable with setting a fixed deadline if consumers bought more digital TV sets or set-top boxes that allowed them to receive digital signals. If consumers don't upgrade their TV sets and lose their analog signals, "it will be on our neck," Tauzin said.

Members of the House also discussed proposals for reducing interference and creating more spectrum. Representative Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said that while there was a need for more spectrum for public safety, federal funding to localities for interoperable equipment undoubtedly would be needed.

Representative Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said he was working with Stupak and Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) on legislation that would create a trust fund to help localities deploy interoperable communications equipment.