Thune Reintroduces ‘Mobile Now’ Spectrum Bill

Keep up with the latest developments and legal issues in the telecommunications and emerging technology sectors, with exclusive access to a comprehensive collection of telecommunications law news,...

By Lydia Beyoud

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune reintroduced a popular bipartisan bill Jan. 3 to streamline wireless equipment siting and put more spectrum into the hands of wireless and wireline broadband providers such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp.

The bill (S. 19), known as Mobile Now, would make 225 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum currently held by federal entities and others available for use by mobile wireless carriers, unlicensed Wi-Fi and other users. Megahertz is a measure of radio wave frequency. Bill supporters see it as important to the development of next generation of wireless networks, known as 5G.

Thune said he hoped for quick action on the bill. “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.”

Thune (R-S.D.) had broad support from lawmakers for his bill last year, as well as backing by the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which regulates spectrum for federal agencies.

However, the bill failed to advance to a Senate floor vote last year amid partisan wrangling over the renomination of Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to the agency.

Thune’s bill may stand a better chance in the new Congress. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to focus on infrastructure matters and the telecommunications industry is keen to make sure that plan includes broadband infrastructure.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lydia Beyoud in Washington at lbeyoud@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com

For More Information

Text of S. 19 is at http://src.bna.com/k7p.

Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Request Tech & Telecom on Bloomberg Law