House Passes FCC Reauthorization, Spectrum Deal

UPDATE By voice vote, the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon voted to pass H.R. 4986, which will help the FCC hold more spectrum auctions and spur deployment of 5G. The measure also reauthorizes the Commission and adds more categories to the types of stations that can be reimbursed as a result of the TV spectrum repack.

An agreement involving House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD), and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) enabled swift action on the bill.  

Upon House passage, Walden and Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said the measure, “will make the FCC more transparent, efficient, and modern while strengthening the nation’s critical telecommunications services and spurring the deployment of 5G.” The bill now goes to the Senate. 

Industry praised the action. The Wireless Infrastructure Association called the House action “a great step” to prepare both the FCC and the wireless industry for the next generation of telecommunications technologies and deployment. The measure “also incorporates several elements of the MOBILE Now Act, including making more spectrum available and streamlining siting of wireless infrastructure in federal lands,” said WIA President/CEO Jonathan Adelstein.

USTelecom called the action a home run. It sends a clear message that elected officials on both sides of the aisle “are, indeed, committed to adopting common sense policies that break down barriers to connectivity and spur the deployment of next-generation networks,” said USTelecom President/CEO Jonathan Spalter.

NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith credited lawmakers for crafting legislation “that ensures local broadcasters are fairly reimbursed” for expenses related to the spectrum repack.

March 7, 2018

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