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Andrew Seybold published an excellent article in AllThingsFirstNet.com regarding the UHF T-Band radio spectrum issue. I support his call to action.

Andy’s original article is available at http://allthingsfirstnet.com/public-safety-advocate-t-band-iwce-firstnet/

T-Band Call to Action

The T-Band (470-512 MHz) is spectrum used by both the public safety community and business users in 11 metro areas of the United States. When the bill creating FirstNet was passed in 2012, Congress required public safety to “give back” some spectrum in exchange for the 10 MHz of spectrum then known as the D-block adjacent to the 700-MHz spectrum that had been reallocated from wideband (50-KHz) channels. This was to enable public safety to deploy its own nationwide public safety broadband network. Congress decided the T-band would be a perfect giveback since it would be auctioned, once returned, for millions of dollars. Since the bill was passed, the major cities and surrounding areas that make use of this spectrum have been unable to find either the spectrum or the funding to relocate, in a timely fashion, their many radio networks that call this spectrum home. See the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) T-Band report.

Since the requirement to give back the T-Band spectrum became law in February of 2012, many agencies and departments including Los Angeles, New York, Boston, and others have been working with Congress to try to repeal this portion of the FirstNet legislation. Partially due to the hard work of Jim Goldstein, head of Government Relations for the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and others, a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives and has been sent to committee. The bill is known as “Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2018” or U.S.H.R. 5085.

The bill is the shortest I have ever read. Section 1 simply states it can be called, “Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2018.” Section two reads:

“SEC. 2. REPEAL OF REQUIREMENT TO REALLOCATE AND AUCTION T-BAND SPECTRUM.

(a) Repeal.—Section 6103 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (47 U.S.C. 1413) is repealed.

(b) Clerical Amendment.—The table of contents in section 1(b) of such Act is amended by striking the item relating to section 6103.”

At the NPTSC meeting held on March 9, the last day of the IWCE conference, Jim Goldstein updated the NPTSC board and attendees on the status of this bill and the pending introduction of a similar bill in the U.S. Senate. Now I am issuing my first CALL TO ACTION request. No matter what your party or leanings, let your U.S. Representatives know now that you are in favor of this bill proceeding through committee and being passed. Later, when the Senate version is introduced, I will issue another CALL TO ACTION to reach out to your U.S. Senators. Even if you do not live or work in a T-band metro area, it is important that you let Congress know it must support public safety by passing this bill. It is too important not to speak up, and Congress does not want to go against the public safety community. Don’t wait: Put this on your urgent to-do list now!

You think T-Band giveback does not affect you and your department? Think again. If the federal government can simply pass legislation to require the return of the T-Band without provisions to replace the T-Band spectrum and funding to offset a move to other spectrum, then it can certainly decide in the near future that FirstNet is up and running so public safety does not need some or all of its LMR spectrum and pass a law to take that away, too. Public safety has a lot of clout when it speaks as the sum of the agencies and organizations as demonstrated during our quest to obtain the D-block and add 10 MHz of broadband spectrum to the public safety nationwide 10 MHz we had already obtained. It was the fact that public safety, governors, mayors, and other groups and organizations all came together in a unified effort to appeal to Congress, the Executive Branch, and the FCC. We need to stay together to ensure the T-Band is kept as it is for many years to come.

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