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GAO: Congress Should Enact Legislation to Allow T-Band Comms for First Responders

Jeff Brody

The Government Accountability Office has urged Congress to enable first responders to use T-Band radio frequencies for mission-critical voice communications. A new report issued Friday highlighted the challenges first responders are facing with the relocation of public safety communications spectrum from T-Band frequencies.

Stakeholders from New York, Los Angeles and Boston have noted that the Federal Communications Commission hasn’t verified alternative spectra for first responders. In addition, FCC assessed that relocation options are limited and costs range from $5 billion to $6 billion.

While the FCC has taken actions to address the concerns, officials said to GAO that planning for the auction were not yet initiated. Stakeholders also advised that the auction may affect first responders’ capacity to maintain communications for emergency scenarios.

GAO conducted interviews and reviewed case studies, related documents, statutes and regulations to help the FCC perform T-Band relocation.

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