Congressman John Joyce, M.D., (PA-13) helped introduce bipartisan legislation this week to extend the federal government’s authority to auction wireless spectrum, providing a vital tool to help connect rural communities to wireless networks and reauthorizing an important source of revenue for the U.S. Treasury, according to a release issued by his office.
Along with Joyce, the Extending America’s Spectrum Auction Leadership Act of 2022 was introduced by Representatives Sharice Davids (D-KS), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Bill Johnson (R-OH).
Since 1993, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has auctioned radio frequency licenses to the commercial wireless industry, raising over $230 billion. Not only has it raised revenue without raising taxes, this system has won a Nobel Prize and made the United States a leader on wireless technology. The FCC’s authority to auction spectrum is set to expire in September of this year if Congress does not act, putting the ability of wireless providers to deliver critical connectivity to the public, including rural broadband services, at risk.
“Nearly 520,000 rural Pennsylvanians live without fast and reliable internet access. This legislation reauthorizes another essential tool to help connect families and businesses to the critical internet services and information they need. I’m proud to be working with my colleagues to introduce this legislation, and I look forward to its swift passage in the House of Representatives,” said Joyce.
“If we let this authority expire, we risk falling behind other countries technologically and losing out on billions in revenue that has been used in the past to pay for critical initiatives like expanding broadband, bringing down the cost of internet service, and funding public safety,” said Davids. “I’m glad we could find common ground to reauthorize the FCC’s ability to auction our nation’s airwaves and keep America competitive against countries like China.”
“This reauthorization is a critical part of ensuring the FCC can continue to help expand wireless deployment across the United States, a task that is vitally important for rural communities in Vermont, many of which lack consistent access to wireless service,” said Welch. “I am committed to working with my colleagues to get this done and advance needed improvements to the spectrum management system, including an important discussion on setting aside revenues for other purposes.”
“It’s vitally important that the FCC’s auction authority not lapse in September; we must ensure it can continue to free up badly-needed spectrum. The United States must maintain its leadership in 5G deployment, and spectrum is a key component of that,” said Johnson. “As a co-chair of the 5G Caucus in the House, I’m working to ensure the FCC has the tools it needs to advance wireless technologies in the US. America must win the race to 5G, and this legislation would go a long way toward ensuring we do.”