House passes bill to protect T-band spectrum

The bill would prevent the spectrum used by first responders from being auctioned off in February 2021

By Laura French

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives have passed a bill that would prevent the T-band spectrum used by first responders from being auctioned off next year. 

H.R. 451, also known as the Don't Break Up the T-Band Act, would repeal the requirement created by the Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put T-band up for auction by February 2021. If T-band were to be auctioned off, all public safety operations would be required to be cleared from the spectrum within two years of the auction closing. 

The bill passed the House on Wednesday by a vote of 410-5 and will now move on to the Senate.

"I thank the House for passing this important legislation to protect T-Band," Gary Ludwig, immediate past president of the IAFC, said in a statement. "The T-Band has proved invaluable for public safety communications in times of crisis including after the 2013 Patriots Day bombing in Boston and now during the response to COVID-19. The 9/11 Commission report highlighted the importance of interoperable public safety communications. The cities' large-scale investments in the T-band to create interoperable communications systems must be protected." 

T-band is used in 11 major metropolitan areas, according to the IAFF, including New York City, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. 

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