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U.S. House passes legislation championed by NACo to prevent the FCC from auctioning the public safety T-Band spectrum

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    U.S. House passes legislation championed by NACo to prevent the FCC from auctioning the public safety T-Band spectrum

    On September 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2020 (H.R. 451) on a 410 to 5 vote. Introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the bill would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from being forced to auction the T-Band spectrum (470-512 MHz), commonly used for public safety communications by local governments. The FCC is statutorily forced to auction the T-Band by February 2021. Supported by NACo, the bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

    In 2012, President Barrack Obama signed Public Law 112-96, which included a provision requiring the FCC to begin auctioning the public safety T-Band spectrum by February 2021 and clear all public safety operations from the band within two years of auction close. However, many local governments still rely on the T-Band to respond to calls for emergency assistance, such as local emergency medical service (EMS), fire department and law enforcement personnel, among others. Using the T-Band, 911 telecommunicators dispatch first responders to people in need, EMS teams speak to each other and firefighters call for mutual aid. The move is expected to cost local governments $5 to $6 billion and auction proceeds are not projected to sufficiently cover relocation expenses. The challenges to relocating emergency communication systems during a public health crisis are exasperated by unprecedented costs and revenue shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    NACo supports preserving public safety’s access to the T-Band and urges Congress to pass the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2020. In April 2020, NACo signed onto a coalition letter to Congressional leaders strongly urging Congress to include language that would repeal the T-Band auction in any legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. NACo will continue to monitor advocate for this legislation.

    On September 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2020 (H.R. 451) on a 410 to 5 vote.
    2020-09-29
    Blog
    2020-09-29
U.S. House passed the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2020 (H.R. 451), which would prevent the FCC from being forced to auction the T-Band spectrum (470-512 MHz) T-Band spectrum is commonly used for public safety communications by local governments, such as local emergency medical service, fire department and law enforcement personnel NACo supports preserving public safety’s access to the T-Band and urges Congress to pass the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2020

On September 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2020 (H.R. 451) on a 410 to 5 vote. Introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the bill would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from being forced to auction the T-Band spectrum (470-512 MHz), commonly used for public safety communications by local governments. The FCC is statutorily forced to auction the T-Band by February 2021. Supported by NACo, the bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

In 2012, President Barrack Obama signed Public Law 112-96, which included a provision requiring the FCC to begin auctioning the public safety T-Band spectrum by February 2021 and clear all public safety operations from the band within two years of auction close. However, many local governments still rely on the T-Band to respond to calls for emergency assistance, such as local emergency medical service (EMS), fire department and law enforcement personnel, among others. Using the T-Band, 911 telecommunicators dispatch first responders to people in need, EMS teams speak to each other and firefighters call for mutual aid. The move is expected to cost local governments $5 to $6 billion and auction proceeds are not projected to sufficiently cover relocation expenses. The challenges to relocating emergency communication systems during a public health crisis are exasperated by unprecedented costs and revenue shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NACo supports preserving public safety’s access to the T-Band and urges Congress to pass the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act of 2020. In April 2020, NACo signed onto a coalition letter to Congressional leaders strongly urging Congress to include language that would repeal the T-Band auction in any legislation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. NACo will continue to monitor advocate for this legislation.

About Zach George (Full Bio)

Legislative Assistant

Zach George joined NACo in March 2016 and serves as a Legislative Assistant. He is responsible for writing and editing blog articles, conducting legislative research and providing legislative support for Environment, Energy and Land Use; Transportation; Telecommunications and Technology; and the Gulf Coast Counties and Parishes Coalition.

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