EWA Supports T-Band Giveback Rescission Bill

The Enterprise Wireless Alliance is asking its members to contact members of Congress to express support for legislation (HR 5085) introduced by Rep. Elliot Engel (D., N.Y.) that would repeal a provision included in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 that requires the T-band to be reauctioned by the FCC for commercial use (TR Daily, Feb. 27).

Courtesy TRDaily

House Bill Would Repeal T-Band Giveback

Legislation (HR 5085) introduced by Rep. Elliot Engel (D., N.Y.) yesterday would repeal a provision included in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 that would require the T-band to be reauctioned by the FCC for commercial use.

The bill’s cosponsors are Reps. Lee M. Zeldin (R., N.Y.) and Peter T. King (R., N.Y.).

Congress required 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). Public safety agencies use the spectrum in 11 major markets.

In 2013, a report by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) that estimated the cost of relocating public safety T-band operations to other spectrum would be more than $5.9 billion and cited the lack of alternative spectrum (TR Daily, March 15, 2013).

NPSTC today welcomed introduction of the legislation, which would repeal section 6103 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act.

“Public safety organizations use the T-Band spectrum to support both day-to-day operations and regional interoperability,” NPSTC said. “Because of the mission critical nature of the communications required, local public safety organizations have spent many years and millions of dollars in federal, state, and local taxpayer funds to plan and build out T-Band networks that are battle-tested and designed for the operational needs of each area.”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily


Engel, Zeldin, King Introduce “Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act” to Protect T-Band Spectrum Use by First Responders

Washington D.C.—Congress Members Eliot Engel (D-NY16), Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), and Peter King (R-NY2) yesterday introduced the “Don’t Break up the T-Band Act,” legislation that would repeal a provision of a 2012 law to allow law-enforcement, fire officials, and EMS to continue using the T-Band spectrum to operate their radios for day-to-day life saving operations.

Currently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is required to reallocate and auction the T-Band spectrum by 2021, which would endanger public safety communications in major metropolitan areas across the United States. The T-Band is a portion of spectrum used in 11 heavily populated metropolitan areas, covering over 90 million Americans, to support critical public safety communications (i.e. police and fire radios) and provide regional interoperability among first responders. Public safety agencies have spent numerous years and hundreds of millions of dollars of federal, state and local funds to plan and build out these T-Band networks. The result is battle-tested public safety networks that provide resilient coverage, reliability and regional interoperability. This spectrum is essential to public safety and for many public safety entities there is nowhere else to move, so Reps. Engel, Zeldin, and King have introduced the “Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act” to preserve the T-Band spectrum before it is reallocated for good.

“With regards to the T-Band spectrum, we have a classic case of ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,’” said Congressman Eliot Engel (D. NY-16). “First Responders charged with the protection of life and property – such as police, fire fighters and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers – rely on T-Band as a vital component of their communications systems. It is a reliable and resilient network that functions in subway tunnels, underground concrete parking lots, and even deep inside large buildings where other systems routinely fail.  Our bill is designed to allow first responders to continue using the T-Band spectrum to communicate effectively when saving lives and keeping us safe.”

“Our first responders bravely and selflessly put their lives on the line each and every day to protect our communities, and our first priority must be ensuring they have the resources they need to safely and effectively do their jobs,” said Congressman Lee Zeldin (R. NY-1). “From hurricanes to fires, in the most dire situations, the T-Band spectrum provides critical communication between first responders. Even when cell phones, internet, and electricity cease to function, T-band is the last line of defense, and selling off this spectrum would be a disservice to our nation’s first responders and the millions of Americans they serve.”

“This legislation allows our first responders to take advantage of emerging telecommunication technologies while still retaining their radio communications. In addition, it will remove the requirement to re-work emergency communications infrastructure which would be an overwhelming financial burden to our local governments,” said Congressman Peter King (R.NY-2).

“The safety of our city depends on our use of the T-Band, and taking it away would be unconscionable. The City has invested millions of dollars in ensuring our first responders can communicate in all types of emergencies, and this resource is key to our ability to keep our communities safe. I want to thank the congressional leaders who are working to protect public safety through HR 5085,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Continue reading

NSA Supports Don’t Break Up the T-Band (HR 5085)

The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) represents the 3,086 Sheriffs of the United States and has more than 20,000 members. The NSA advocates for policies that will the improve the quality of service to its constituents.  NSA supports the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act (H.R. 5085) introduced by Representatives Elliot Engel, Lee Zeldin, and Peter King.

Many of the Shefiffs we represent will be impacted by the auctioning of the T-Band. Mission critical voice operations and interoperability wth other law enforcement, fire service, EMS, and emergency management services are critical elements of public safety.  The NSA is united with other public safety organization behind the desire to see H.R. 5085 succeed and we will continue to fight for public safety’s access to the best available technology to keep the public safe

AT&T Announces FirstNet Band 14 Phone

AT&T, Inc., has announced that First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) subscribers will be able to use the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ on the network by the end of March, and that it will be one of the first commercially available smartphones certified for the network that will be able to access public safety Band 14. “The availability of the first Samsung device with built-in access to FirstNet’s public safety spectrum, Band 14, is a major development for the network,” said FirstNet Chief Technology Officer Jeff Bratcher. “As we planned for FirstNet, public safety stressed to us time and again that access to innovative wireless broadband devices was critical. We are delivering on this key objective by developing and growing a global device ecosystem for FirstNet to help public safety with their lifesaving mission.”

Chris Sambar, AT&T’s senior vice president-FirstNet, said, “We promised to work with the device community to help deliver next-generation technologies to public safety. And, we couldn’t be more pleased that Samsung built Band 14 into the Galaxy S9/S9+, helping us keep that commitment while unlocking access to top-of-the-line devices that first responders can use to help achieve their missions.”

Courtesy TRDaily


IAFC Press Release Supports Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act (H.R. 5085)

On behalf of the approximately 12,000 members of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the IAFC supports the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act (H.R. 5085) and thanks Representatives Eliot Engel, Lee Zeldin, and Peter King for introducing this legislation. Section 6301 in Title VI of P.L. 112-96 mandates that the Federal Communications Commission begin an auction of the public safety spectrum in the T-Band spectrum (470-512 MHz) by February 21, 2021 and clear public safety operations from that band within two years of auction close.

H.R. 5085 will resolve an important issue for local public safety organizations across the nation. In 11 major metropolitan areas1, local public safety organizations have spent many years and millions of federal, state and local taxpayer funds to plan and build out T-Band networks to meet mission-critical voice requirements. The results are battle-tested public safety networks designed for the operational needs of each area. These T-band networks provide resilient mission-critical voice coverage, reliability, the option for off-network unit-to-unit operations, local control, and specialized operations like paging where needed, e.g., for volunteer firefighters, and regional interoperability in large metropolitan areas. It is important to note that public safety T-Band networks protect 90 million Americans.

We thank Representatives Engel, Zeldin, and King for introducing this important legislation. By repealing the T-Band auction requirement, we ensure that local fire, EMS and law enforcement agencies will continue to be able to communicate during daily emergency operations and major incidents. We urge Congress to consider and pass this important legislation this year.

1 The affected areas are Boston; Chicago; Dallas/Ft. Worth; Washington, D.C. (including parts of Virginia and Maryland); Houston; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City/Northeast New Jersey; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; and San Francisco/Oakland.