T-Band sacrificed by D-Block Deal

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Dec 14, 2001
Far NW Valley
In a deal to save APCO's D-Block project the UHF T-Band (470-512 MHz.) used by public safety and businesses in the largest Metro areas of the USA, including Chicago, New York, LA etc., will be given back and cleared of current users in 9-11 years. The band will then be auctioned off for commercial use.

This was apparently done at the instigation of New York City who did not want to spend the money needed to narrowband their extensive operations on T-Band and had failed in repeated attempts to forestall the narrowband deadline of 12-31-2012.

APCO has been pressing for a nationwide broadband voice and data network in the D-Block of 700 MHz. for a long time and resisted attempts to give back other wide area of spectrum. Other areas suggested and rejected for giveback included much of the VHF and UHF bands as well as other 700 MHz. allocations.

It appears that at the last minute Republican members of the congressional committee working on the bill wrote the T-Band in after it was mentioned that it would only affect a portion of the country, not the nation as a whole. The entire thing was part of a much larger tax bill compromise hammered out by Republicans and Democrats that apparently will be signed by President Obama.

While funding has been included for the nationwide network, it remains to be seen what kind of allowances will be made for existing users of the UHF T-Band. Will the funding extend to relocate them to other bands? Will they be given first choice at other allocations? Will they be reimbursed for recent expenditures such as narrowbanding?

If I had to guess (since all the facts have not yet been discussed yet) local users of T-Band will be on the hook for at least a portion of the expense of moving to new systems and that they can APPLY for grants to move. The new nationwide system proposed by APCO for the D-Block is far from a sure thing, so most users will have to be accommodated on other systems and frequencies.


The process will not be speedy. We have been through this before, recently.

Refarming (not yet completed), rebanding (not yet completed), narrowbanding (not yet completed).

It would be nice if Congress would leave radio alone for a while, but they can't as long as they must answer to the two-way industry giants who continue to give them money.
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