Updated T-Band Report Finds Original Conclusions Remain Valid
Monday, June 06, 2016 | Comments

The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) released an updated report on T-band UHF spectrum. The report provides an update on the spectrum issue since the council’s first report released in March 2013.

“Given the three-year time span, NPSTC wanted to determine if there have been any significant changes in the public-safety demand for T-band spectrum or the viability of potential relocation options,” the report summary said. “As detailed in this update report, only minimal numbers of public-safety T-band licenses have been cancelled or allowed to expire without renewal since the previous NPSTC study. Also, various jurisdictions have indicated their T-band systems and spectrum are still essential to effective communications and interoperability.”

The 2012 legislation that created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) also mandated that by 2021 the FCC must auction the UHF T-band spectrum. Public-safety agencies and business/industry (B/I) licensees use this spectrum in 11 markets in the United States.

The law could negatively impact the operations of public-safety agencies that provide emergency response to a population of more than 90 million people in the 11 T-band areas. The new report addresses the area and population contained within each T-band area that could be negatively impacted by the requirement that public safety vacate the T-band spectrum.

The FCC in 2014 released 24 reserve channels from the 700 MHz band earmarked for T-band relocation, but the number of additional channels pales in comparison to the T-band channels in use, especially in the top five T-band areas. Also, while there has been progress in related standards, much work remains to provide a viable mission-critical voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) solution with coverage, guaranteed voice capacity and local control equivalent to that of T-band LMR systems.

“It is premature to determine whether equivalent broadband coverage would be in place and mission-critical VoLTE could be proven reliable in the public safety stressed environment, both key requirements to substitute the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) for current T-Band operations,” the report said.

The update also provides additional detail on the 325 full-power and Class A television stations on TV channels 14 – 20, including the 470 – 512 MHz T-Band spectrum. The presence of these stations could seriously impair use of the T-band spectrum for nationwide commercial wireless operations even if public safety systems were cleared from the band.

“The update study confirms the conclusions from the original NPSTC T-Band report remain valid,” the summary said.

The full report is here.

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On 6/8/16, Richard Terwilliger said:
I am glad that there is movement going on in relation to T-band. On Long Island, New York, the impact of public safety having to vacate T-band is extreme. Many agencies affected had just made major investments in their T-band systems. This is a perfect example of well-intended legislation gone awry. There should have been no strings attached when the federal government allocated spectrum for future broadband. That could never replace the functionality of T-band.

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