Looks like 5G is still a priority for lawmakers in 2017.
The Mobile Now Act, a bill that aims to free up more federal and non-federal spectrum for 5G and next generation wireless services, resurfaced before the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday, which was the first day the 115th Congress met.
The measure was brought back to the table by co-sponsors Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), who also serves as chairman of the committee, and committee co-chair Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). The move was spotted earlier this week by Broadcasting & Cable’s John Eggerton.
“The Mobile Now Act is a gateway to faster and more extensive wireless coverage that empowers more Americans to use technologies requiring a connection to the internet,” Thune said in a statement. “This legislation is an early technology priority that I expect the Commerce Committee will send to the Senate floor soon.”
First circulated as a draft in November 2015 and introduced in February 2016, the Mobile Now Act was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee in March but never made it to a full vote in the Senate and House of Representatives during the 114th Congress.
Among other things, the Mobile Now Act would cement in law President Obama’s goal of making 500 MHz of spectrum – including 255 MHz of federal and non-federal airwaves below 6 GHz and 100 MHz of unlicensed spectrum – available for mobile and fixed wireless broadband use by the end of 2020. The bill would also require the FCC to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to consider service rules to authorize mobile or fixed terrestrial wireless operations in the airwaves from 24.25-24.450 GHz, 25.05-25.25 GHz, 31.8-33.4 GHz, 42-42.5 GHz, 71-76 GHz, and 81-86 GHz.
Additionally, the act gives the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) 18 months to assess spectrum in the 3 GHz band and millimeter wave frequencies to determine the feasibility of deploying licensed or unlicensed wireless broadband services in those bands.
In its first legislative go-around last year, the bill garnered industry support from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), Sprint, CTIA, and AT&T, which called it a “step in the right direction.”
And on Tuesday, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) SVP for Government Affairs James Reid said the measure will “help address the growing demand for connectivity, and more spectrum solutions will also be needed — particularly to keep the U.S. competitive as nations around the world push forward with plans for next-generation wireless.”
More on what’s included in the bill can be found here.
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)