Republican Senators Introduce Legislation to Boost Commercial Wireless 5G Networks

Republican Senators Introduce Legislation to Boost Commercial Wireless 5G Networks

Key Points:

  • Senators Ted Cruz and John Thune introduced the “Spectrum Pipeline” bill to boost commercial wireless 5G networks.
  • Senator Cruz emphasizes expanding commercial access to the mid-band spectrum for technological dominance and economic growth.
  • Industry group CTIA supports the bill because it could enhance wireless data use and competition in the broadband market.
  • The White House is studying spectrum repurposing. Some senators caution against prioritizing commercial wireless over military radar systems.

Two top Republican senators, Ted Cruz and John Thune, are introducing legislation on Monday aimed at enhancing commercial wireless 5G networks by requiring the auctioning of some U.S. government-owned spectrum.

In March 2023, Congress allowed the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to auction spectrum to lapse for the first time in three decades. This move sparked debate about repurposing or sharing spectrum used by the Defense Department. Spectrum auctions have generated $233 billion in proceeds for the U.S. government over the last 30 years.

The “Spectrum Pipeline” bill proposed by Senators Cruz and Thune seeks to address the soaring demand for spectrum use, driven by advancements in various sectors such as drones, self-driving vehicles, moon missions, and precision agriculture. Notably, mobile U.S. wireless data traffic surged by 38% in 2022, marking the largest-ever increase in mobile data traffic.

Under the proposed legislation, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) would identify at least 2,500 megahertz of mid-band spectrum that could be reallocated from federal government use to non-governmental or shared use within the next five years. Furthermore, the bill mandates that the FCC auction at least 1,250 megahertz of spectrum for full-power commercial wireless services, including 5G, within six years and at least 600 megahertz within three years.

Senator Cruz emphasized expanding commercial access to the mid-band spectrum to ensure dominance in next-generation wireless technologies, stay ahead of adversaries, and drive economic growth. While the NTIA has taken steps to free up additional wireless spectrum by repurposing the spectrum currently allocated to parts of the federal government, Republicans have criticized the agency for not acting swiftly enough.

The White House’s National Spectrum Strategy and presidential memorandum include a study of over 2,700 MHz of spectrum, including more than 1,600 megahertz of mid-band spectrum, for potential repurposing.

Industry group CTIA, representing major telecom companies like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, praised the Cruz-Thune bill, highlighting its potential to create a strong pipeline of licensed spectrum, support growing wireless data use, bolster national security, and foster competition in the home broadband market.

However, some senators have urged the Biden administration not to prioritize commercial wireless over spectrum used for military radar systems.

TechGolly editorial team led by Al Mahmud Al Mamun. He worked as an Editor-in-Chief at a world-leading professional research Magazine. Rasel Hossain and Enamul Kabir are supporting as Managing Editor. Our team is intercorporate with technologists, researchers, and technology writers. We have substantial knowledge and background in Information Technology (IT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Embedded Technology.

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