Latest spending bill protects public safety T-band spectrum
The bill includes the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act, which prevents the auction of the T-Band spectrum deemed critical to radio communications in metro areas
By Janelle Foskett
The latest spending/stimulus package, which Congress passed this week, contains the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act. The bill now heads to President Trump for signature.
The Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act repeals Section 6103 of the Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96), which directed the FCC to auction public safety’s T-Band spectrum.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) describes the T-Band spectrum (470 MHz – 512 MHz) as critical to public safety interoperable radio communications in major metropolitan areas and their surrounding regions across the country. Without the passage of the Don't Break Up the T-Band Act, the FCC would have had to begin auctioning off T-Band spectrum in February.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel both expressed the need for Congress to repeal the T-band auction mandate, noting these auctions would have irreparably damaged public safety communications in the metropolitan areas of New York City, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco/Oakland. First responders in these areas would have had to re-work their communications infrastructure, and many would have been left without alternative spectrum to which to migrate.
IAFC President Chief Richard R. Carrizzo, said in response to passage of the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act: “The IAFC expresses its thanks and gratitude to Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Representatives Elliot Engel (D-NY), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Al Green (D-TX), Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Greg Walden (R-OR), and a coalition of industry and public safety groups for all their hard work to pass the Don't Break Up the T-Band Act. This is a big victory for first responders."
The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 133) on Monday night. The 5,593-page bill will fund the entire federal government until Sept. 30, 2021. It is unclear if President Trump will sign this legislation.