Lawmakers Discuss T-Band, 9-1-1 Fee Diversion, NG 9-1-1 Funding During FCC Hearing
Friday, December 06, 2019 | Comments

House Energy and Commerce Committee lawmakers discussed T-band, 9-1-1 fee diversion and next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) funding as important issues during an FCC oversight hearing Dec. 5.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai this week called on Congress to repeal the T-band mandate, which requires the FCC to auction the UHF spectrum by 2021. Wireless use of the T-band consists of otherwise unused broadcast spectrum in TV channels 14 – 20 in 11 cities. The spectrum contains about 925 public-safety entities and 700 industrial/business entities.

“I am pleased about Chairman Pai’s comments about the T-band,” said Rep. Mike Doyle, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Communications and Technology. “The value of selling this band will not even come close to covering their relocation costs. In Allegheny County (Pennsylvania) alone, where I live, it would cost upwards of $250 million for public safety to relocate to other spectrum. I think that once and for all, we need to repeal this mandate. It makes no sense to me or many on this committee to go forward with it.”

In his opening statement, Doyle suggested using the C-band auction revenue to fund NG 9-1-1, along with rural broadband and closing the digital divide.

Rep. Greg Walden agreed with his counterpart on the auction revenues. “The FCC announced that they would pursue a public auction of spectrum in the C-band,” he said. “As the law stands now, any proceeds from an FCC auction would go to the Treasury for deficit reduction, rather than going toward bipartisan priorities like facilitating the nationwide transition to NG 9-1-1.”

Rep. Walden also said it’s important to find a solution to the T-band auction and called out Pai for not working with him directly.

“At the last FCC oversight hearing, and other times over the last several years, I have floated proposals as to how to delay or repeal the T-band auction process and welcomed thoughts on how to reconcile these related issues,” Rep. Walden said. “I have not been taken up on that offer, so I must say that I find it interesting that just this week Chairman Pai called on Congress to repeal the T-Band auction mandate, which was not coordinated nor discussed with me or my staff, despite our efforts to find a solution. So, with the deadline fast approaching, I would like to take this opportunity to again repeat my call to affected parties to work with us and my colleagues on finding a consensus solution on this issue.”

“We also need to put a stop to 9-1-1 fee diversion. I’ve floated proposals for how to delay the T-band and reconcile these issues.”

A recording of the full hearing is here.

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Comments
On 12/11/19, Richard Terwilliger said:
Let's go Congress. There is a House bill and a Senate bill to repeal the T-band mandate. Please get it done.


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