The U.S. House of Representatives has passed several bills designed to strengthen communications networks and improve the management of federal spectrum.
H.R. 6096, the “Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act of 2020,” amends the Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act to classify emergency alerts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a type of alert that commercial mobile service providers may not allow subscribers to block from their devices.
The bill, introduced by Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Pete Olson (R-TX), also directs the FCC to adopt regulations to facilitate coordination with State Emergency Communications Committees in developing and modernizing State Emergency Alert System plans. Finally, the READI Act directs the FCC to examine the feasibility of modernizing the Emergency Alert System by expanding alert distribution to the internet and streaming services. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote.
“From keeping Americans better informed during emergencies to promoting 5G coordination, competitiveness and security, these three bills will create a better, safer communications network for us all,” said Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA). “At its core, our telecommunications infrastructure exists to serve the public interest and connect our nation, and we are proud of the bipartisan work that went into advancing that goal with these three bills. We thank all our colleagues for working with us to get such important legislation passed today.”
Also by a voice vote, the House passed H.R. 6624, the “Utilizing Strategic Allied (USA) Telecommunications Act of 2020,” introduced by Pallone, Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) and Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), which creates a new grant program through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to promote technology that enhances supply chain security and market competitiveness in wireless communications networks.
H.R. 7310, the “Spectrum IT Modernization Act of 2020” was similarly passed requiring the NTIA – in consultation with the Policy and Plans Steering Group – to submit to Congress a report on its plans to modernize agency information technology systems relating to managing the use of federal spectrum. It was introduced by Doyle and Communications and Technology Ranking Member Robert Latta (R-OH), as well as Reps. Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Tim Walberg (R-MI).
Source: U.S. House Communications and Technology Subcommittees