Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Lee Zeldin (1st District of New York)
Video of Rep. Zeldin House, Senate Colleagues & 1st Responders Urge Passage of Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act
WASHINGTON – On Wednesday March 11, 2020, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) joined Congressman Eliot Engel (D, NY-16), Senator Ed Markey (D, MA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY) along with first responders from New York, Massachusetts, and across the country to urge passage of the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act following its passage through the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which would allow first responders 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, including New York, covering over 90 million Americans, to support critical public safety communications (i.e. police, fire and other first responder’s 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.
In July, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that relocating users from the T-Band spectrum would cost $5 billion to $6 billion and recommended Congress consider legislation allowing the continued use of the spectrum.
In December, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai joined the call for Congress to repeal the mandate to auction the T-Band spectrum and allow public safety officials to continue saving lives using T-Band communications.
Congressman Zeldin (R, NY-1) said following the press conference, “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. 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 not only be a disservice to our nation’s first responders and the millions of Americans they serve, but to our nation’s taxpayers. I thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for their efforts to ensure our first responders have the tools they need and look forward to getting this important victory over the finish line.”