Latta’s bipartisan Spectrum Innovation Act advances to Senate

Bipartisan legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) that would repurpose airwaves for commercial use received approval on July 27 from the U.S. House of Representatives and advanced to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

“In a world centered around technology, this bipartisan legislation is a win for Ohioans and Americans nationwide,” Rep. Latta said. “This bill shows what Congress can do when we work together to address the issues facing the country.”

The Spectrum Innovation Act of 2022, H.R. 7624, which Rep. Latta cosponsored on April 28 with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA), would specify a process for auctioning a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum between 3100 megahertz (MHz) and 3540 MHz for non-federal use, shared federal and non-federal use, or a combination of such uses, according to the congressional record bill summary. 

“The Spectrum Innovation Act will benefit consumers by providing more reliable connections with faster speeds and more responsive networks,” said Rep. Latta. “At the same time, proceeds from the spectrum auctions will support public safety and secure our telecommunication networks from bad actors like China.”

If enacted, H.R. 7624 would require the Office of Management and Budget to transfer funding from the Spectrum Reallocation Fund to federal entities for planning related to the reallocation. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Executive Office of the President would oversee the planning, the summary says.

Informed by such planning, the U.S. Commerce Department would be required to identify at least 200 MHz of spectrum for reallocation and then the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must adopt rules authorizing the use of the identified spectrum in consultation with the NTIA, and auction licenses for the identified spectrum within seven years of the bill’s enactment, according to the summary.

Additionally, H.R. 7624 would require the president to modify or withdraw current federal assignments of the identified spectrum to increase non-federal use, and the FCC to allow for “opportunistic uses” of a withdrawn or modified assignment, states the summary.

Prior to the House’s approval, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 13 voted 52-0 to pass H.R. 7624, which the Senate then received on July 28 and referred to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee for consideration.