Late last week, the U.S. Senate approved by unanimous consent of S. 19, the MOBILE NOW Act, which aims to facilitate future wireless broadband services, such as 5G, by increasing the amount of available spectrum and streamlining regulation for building wireless networks.
The Mobile Now Action makes into law a 2010 executive order by the Obama Administration set a goal of making available 500 megahertz of federal spectrum for private sector use by 2020.
The measure was introduced by U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, who applauded its passage.
“Spectrum fuels the 21st century’s wireless economy, and this bill will help make much more of that fuel available to the public,” said Thune. “The MOBILE NOW Act, which has waited 18 months to advance through the Senate, accelerates us toward a future where extremely fast broadband is much more widely available and internet-enabled devices will play an increasingly prominent role in everything from household items to agricultural production.”
In particular, the bill directs the federal government to study more than 13 gigahertz of spectrum look for usable frequencies in the 3 GHz band and in the millimeter wave frequencies.
Additionally, federal agencies will be required to speed applications and permit requests on for placing wireless infrastructure on federal property.
The Act facilitates adoption of “dig once” policies by states, which create single conduit through which all broadband wires can be run should be laid in the ground at the same time as other below-ground infrastructure work, like highway construction.
The bill creates a national broadband facilities federal real estate asset database, reallocation incentives for federal entities to relinquish or share their spectrum and methods to speed access to auctioned bands.