IAFC Asks Congress to Repeal T-Band Mandate During Press Conference
Friday, March 13, 2020 | Comments

Fire Chief Gary Ludwig, president and chairman of the board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), along with other public-safety officials held a March 10 press conference asking Congress to repeat the T-band auction mandate.

“Unfortunately, time is running out for Congress to act,” said Ludwig, who is the fire chief in Champaign, Illinois. “The nation’s fire chiefs are not here to say how, but — respectfully — here to say now.”

The metropolitan areas that will lose spectrum under the auction are often on the frontline of the most challenging public-safety and homeland-security issues of the day. To have the capability to respond to any crisis, fire departments must have access to interoperable communications, namely on the T-band, he said.

Ludwig said a given metropolitan fire department may have anywhere between 150 to 700 frontline units responding to calls, putting the average number of daily radio transmissions in the tens of thousands. When a major incident occurs, the number can jump into the hundreds of thousands. Using the allocated T-band spectrum, cities build robust and resilient communications systems that enable responders to rely on their radios when they are most needed.

Last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that highlighted the lack of alternate spectrum options in many of the T-band cities.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement last year confirming that “relocation costs for public safety licensees would … exceed any potential auction revenue, making it impossible to … comply with the mandate.”

“It is imperative that Congress pass legislation repealing the T-band auction mandate this year, before time runs out,” Ludwig said.

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On 3/18/20, Richard Terwilliger said:
Thank you Chief Ludwig. There are House and Senate Bills to make this happen. I sincerely hope that the bills get addressed by the House and Senate and don't get lost during the current crisis.

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