February 16, 2017–The public safety community should organize to protect the T-band from reallocation, public safety advocate and wireless industry consultant Andy Seybold said today in his weekly e-mailed commentary.
The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requires the FCC to reallocate and auction public safety spectrum in the T-band by 2021 and relocate incumbents by 2023. Proceeds from the auction can be used to cover the relocation costs of public safety licensees. But the law didn’t say anything about relocating non-public safety licensees.
“As the new administration comes up to speed, committees in Congress are reconfigured, and the deadline for losing the T-band draws closer, circumstances have changed since February of 2012 when the give-back was included in the FirstNet bill,” he said. “Therefore, I think it is time to revisit this issue. I know many Public Safety agencies have already been active in this quest but just like when the spectrum was needed for FirstNet, it took the efforts of Public Safety agencies from all over the country to get the attention needed to make the changes. This is not simply a task for the agencies in the eleven metro areas affected, it is important to all of the Public Safety community to educate or re-educate those who make the laws so they understand that all spectrum is not there simply to be auctioned for broadband video streaming and to offset the national debt.
“I am willing to bet that many in Congress view FirstNet as the only spectrum that will be needed for Public Safety going forward,” Mr. Seybold added. “This is not a fair assumption, at least not for a very long time, if ever. If we lose the T-band, what portion of the Public safety spectrum will be next to go on the auction block?” – Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org