Markey Joins Pai in Urging End to T-Band Auction

It is rare for Democratic Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to be on the same page, but they are when it comes to auctioning T-Band spectrum, which they both oppose. 

Pai circulated an item Friday (May 15) starting the auction process Friday (May 15), but in the same breath urged Congress to pull the plug on the auction, which the FCC has concluded will fail to pay for itself, and hurt first responders in the bargain. 

Markey agrees, issuing his own call for his colleagues to undue the 2012 mandate that first responders be moved off the band and the spectrum auctioned. 

“As the FCC’s announcement today makes clear, first responders across the country are at risk of losing a critical communications tool that they rely on to keep Americans safe and healthy every day,” said Markey. “It defies logic that during a massive public health crisis, Congress would saddle first responders with billions in bills to move spectrum bands, and we’re running out of time to solve this problem. Congress must do right by the heroes on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and preserve their access to T-Band in the next recovery legislation.” 

Pai cited bills to cancel the auction in his statement urging Hill action. One of those was introduced by Markey, the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act. 

The House Democrat's HEROES Act Covid-19 aid bill would also end the auction, but Senate Republicans and President Trump have signaled that bill won't pass. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.