Engel saving T-band spectrum


U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel hopes to hold on to a little bit of remaining cell phone spectrum and dedicate it to first responders.

Engel’s bill preserving what is known as the “T-band” spectrum between 470 and 512 MHz, passed the House overwhelmingly last week.

H.R. 451 is intended to repeal a provision of the 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which directed the Federal Communications Commission to auction off this band of spectrum by next year.

“Emergency personnel in major metropolitan areas across the United States use the T-band spectrum for emergency public safety communication,” Engel said, in a release. “It allows first responders to communicate even when cell towers, electricity, or the internet are down, and allows communication deep underground in tunnels or inside concrete buildings.”

Millions of dollars have been invested in creating communications devices that uses this specific part of the spectrum, Engel added, and that moving first responders off it would cost billions.


Hookahs available?

Could outdoor hookah sales help struggling restaurants in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic? Fernando Cabrera doesn’t think it would hurt.

The councilman has introduced legislation that, if passed, could allow restricted sales of outdoor hookah.

Such devices are either single- or multi-stemmed devices used to heat or vaporize traditional smoking material like tobacco. Besides the carcinogenic effects of material smoked in a hookah, there is some concern that devices designed for multiple people could spread disease, including the coronavirus.

Still, Cabrera says providing additional revenue opportunities is important.

“We need to do all that is possible to save these businesses,” he said, in a release.