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Senate Advances Legislation to Preserve T-Band Spectrum for Emergency Personnel

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is prepared to auction off the T-Band in 2021, which is purposed solely for public safety personnel in 11 dense cities to communicate effectively and securely during emergencies. A bill that aims to preserve first responders’ access to the spectrum during crises was introduced in October and moved through the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday. The T-Band allows first responders to call for backup, dispatch police to crime scenes and was utilized after the Boston Marathon bombing when apt communication was critical during the ensuing manhunt.

The T-Band was created in the early 1970s as a result of high populations and the density of communication systems and has since proven essential to communication between law enforcement and safety entities. However, the Government Accountability Office published a report in June claiming that auctioning off the T-Band could impact first responders’ ability to communicate in times of danger. The GAO also claimed that relocating T-Band users to other bands could cost billions. The FCC’s Chairman asked Congress to repeal the order to auction the T-Brand spectrum earlier this month.

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