Five senators reintroduced the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act, legislation that would preserve emergency personnel’s access to UHF T-band spectrum at 470 – 512 MHz. The bill repeals a provision of the 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which directed the FCC to auction this band of spectrum by 2021.

Sens. Edward J. Markey, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren and Bob Casey reintroduced the legislation. Public-safety and business/industrial users in 11 highly populated metropolitan areas use the spectrum.

“Agencies across the country have invested millions of local, state and federal dollars in the T-band networks, which offer the reliable coverage and regional interoperability that first responders require for mission-critical voice communications,” said a press release.

Rep. Eliott Engel introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

A June study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the cost of relocating T-band users to other bands of spectrum would cost between $5 billion and $6 billion, and for many T-band users, alternative bands of spectrum are limited or nonexistent.

“In Massachusetts and across the country, courageous men and women in our police and fire departments put their lives on the line to protect our health and safety every day,” said Markey. “It is essential that these first responders have the tools they need to do their jobs and serve the public. I’ve introduced legislation to preserve law enforcement, EMS personnel, firefighters and security officials’ access to the T-band spectrum they use to communicate with each other when lives are on the line.”

The full bill is here.

Source: Mission Critical Communications