House Passes Latta’s Spectrum Legislation to Improve Americans’ Communications Networks
Spectrum Innovation Act also supports public safety and secures telecommunications networks from China
Today, Congressman Bob Latta’s (R-OH5) legislation, the Spectrum Innovation Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation, authored by Rep. Latta and House Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle, would repurpose airwaves for commercial use, which means faster speeds and more responsive networks for Americans. A significant portion of spectrum auction proceeds will go towards securing our networks from China and supporting public safety through Next Generation 911.
“In a world centered around technology, this bipartisan legislation is a win for Ohioans and Americans nationwide,” said Latta. “The Spectrum Innovation Act will benefit consumers by providing more reliable connections with faster speeds and more responsive networks. At the same time, proceeds from the spectrum auctions will support public safety and secure our telecommunication networks from bad actors like China. This bill shows what Congress can do when we work together to address the issues facing the country.”
The Spectrum Innovation Act passed the Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 52-0.
This legislation is vital to deploying robust 5G networks, close the digital divide for rural Americans, allow innovators to create next-generation communications technology, and secure our telecommunication networks against domestic and foreign enemies, like China. Up to 200 megahertz of spectrum will be auctioned for new, innovative, and flexible spectrum uses, with proceeds going toward public safety and national security priorities.
Currently, the FCC is facing a $3.08 billion shortfall in funding to rip and replace untrusted equipment from our communication networks like Huawei and ZTE, which this bill would address. Removing the equipment quickly will protect Americans from Chinese espionage. Additionally, the legislation would provide up to $10 billion dollars in future auction proceeds to upgrade our 9-1-1 infrastructure. It will also include the Extending America’s Spectrum Auction Leadership Act of 2022, which will extend the Federal Communications Commission’s general auction authority for 18 months – it is currently set to expire on September 30th. Without action, the FCC will not be able to make more airwaves available for 5G and wireless broadband services in rural areas.