Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Spectrum Innovation Act Would Make More Mid-Band Spectrum Available for 5G Wireless

On April 28, Reps. Michael Doyle and Bob Latta introduced the Spectrum Innovation Act of 2022 – H.R. 7624. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Ben Ray Lujan and John Thune. This important legislation would require more spectrum to be reallocated for commercial and other private uses and help meet growing user demands. 

If passed by Congress, the legislation would require 200 MHz in additional spectrum in the lower 3 GHz band to be reallocated and auctioned by the FCC for non-federal use or for shared use between federal and non-federal users. Also, the legislation also would allocate $50 million for federal agency planning for the reallocation and use of the spectrum. Under the bill, spectrum auction proceeds would cover 100% of federal reallocation or sharing costs. 

The Spectrum Innovation Act of 2022 is welcome legislation and it deserves a timely hearing in Congress. The bill focuses on valuable spectrum in the 3.1-3.45 GHz range. That is prime mid-band spectrum that can be used for next-generation 5G wireless services. As mentioned in my blog post from January of this year, the FCC auctioned 100 MHz of spectrum for shared federal and non-federal use in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band. The Spectrum Innovation Act would build on what was accomplished in that auction. Spectrum takes a long time to prepare for reallocation. The sooner Congress can pass this legislation the better. 


My February 2021 Perspectives from FSF Scholars, "Fast Action on the Lower 3 GHz Band Will Secure America's Future," made the case for repurposing 3.1-3.45 GHz for commercial and wireless services. That case remains just as strong today.