Pai Asks Congress to Retract T-Band Mandate


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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Monday called on Congress to repeal the mandate to auction T-Band spectrum and allow public safety officials to continue using the band for communications.

“In 2012, Congress passed legislation requiring the FCC to reallocate and auction T-Band spectrum used for decades by public safety licensees and fund the relocation of those licensees elsewhere. The agency has extensively analyzed the T-Band and concluded that moving forward is not viable,” said Pai in a statement. 

That’s because “relocation costs for public safety licensees would likely far exceed any potential auction revenue, making it impossible to fund the relocation and comply with the mandate,” Pai explained. 

“The Government Accountability Office has agreed—reporting to Congress that the T-Band mandate is unworkable and could deprive first responders of their current ability to communicate by radio,” Pai added. He’s hopeful lawmakers can quickly resolve the issue. Doing so will protect public safety communications in the T-Band and allow FCC auction staff to focus in 2020 on auctions that will make new bands available for 5G, in the 3.5 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands.

In a Public Notice, the agency on Monday suspended processing applications for T-band licenses, including renewals, in accordance with the T-Band mandate to hold an auction in 2021.

December 3, 2019

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