IAFC: Congress Should Preserve T-Band

The International Association of Fire Chiefs says Congress should repeal a provision in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 that requires the FCC to auction the T-band, which is used by public safety agencies in 11 major markets.  IAFC submitted a letter yesterday to the House communications and technology subcommittee, which held a hearing on the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) (TR Daily, Nov. 1).

Congress is requiring 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. The T-band encompasses TV channels 14-20 (470-512 megahertz).

In its letter, IAFC also reiterated its support for FirstNet, which has drawn criticism from some state officials for the terms of draft spectrum manager lease agreements (SMLAs).

“Public safety fought hard to establish FirstNet because we knew that we were being left behind compared to the technologies available for personal-use communications,” IAFC said. “The IAFC is united with other national public safety organizations behind the desire to see FirstNet succeed and we will continue to fight for public safety’s access to the best available technology to keep the public safe.”

Meanwhile, in a commentary posted today, wireless industry consultant and public safety advocate Andy Seybold reiterated his plea for Congress to at least push back the deadline by which the FCC must auction the T-band. And he noted that while the spectrum is used in major markets, small agencies nearby could also be impacted by the loss of the frequencies.

“Major city communications and public safety communities are working to find a solution and many are spending time and effort to convince Congress to make changes,” he said. But he added that “[s]maller departments and counties are not in a position to exercise any political clout …”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily