Bipartisan “AIRWAVES Act” Offers Real Solutions For Rural Broadband, Wireless Future

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Today, Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum, or “AIRWAVES,” Act. The bill establishes a pipeline to move federal spectrum into commercial use, ensuring significant capacity for both exclusive use (“licensed”) spectrum and shared use (“unlicensed”) spectrum. The AIRWAVES Act also includes a proposal to take a portion of the spectrum auction proceeds to fund wireless infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas.

The following can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge:

“The AIRWAVES Act shows that when members of Congress set aside partisan differences, we can all work together to find innovative solutions to the infrastructure challenges facing our country. This bill strikes an important balance in recognizing that the success of 5G wireless will need both more exclusive use spectrum for gigabit mobile networks, and more shared spectrum for next generation gigabit Wi-Fi.

“In particular, we applaud Senator Gardner and Senator Hassan for proposing to set aside 10 percent of the revenue from spectrum auctions to create a fund for wireless broadband infrastructure in rural America. This focuses spending directly on needed broadband infrastructure in a competitively neutral manner, without raising taxes or user fees.

“We strongly support the AIRWAVES Act as the basis for moving forward on spectrum policy in Congress, and urge Senators on both sides of the aisle to support this balanced and innovative approach to providing rural broadband and wireless capacity for 5G.”

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