Temporary FCC Spectrum Auction Bill Clears House Committee

An identical bill passed the Senate in September.

Temporary FCC Spectrum Auction Bill Clears House Committee
Screenshot of Rep. John Joyce, R-Pennsylvania, at the House Energy and Commerce Committee markup on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON, December 5, 2023 – The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday cleared a bill that would allow the Federal Communications Commission to issue already auctioned spectrum licenses. An identical bill passed the Senate in September.

The FCC’s authority to auction off spectrum and issue licenses expired for the first time in March. At that time the commission had auctioned 8,000 licenses in the 2.5 GigaHertz band for 5G networks, but had yet to issue them.

The 5G SALE Act, introduced in September by Rep. John Joyce, R-Pennsylvania, would give the FCC authority to release those licenses, allowing winners to expand their service areas.

The bill will now go to the full House for a vote.

FCC commissioners have been pushing for a full reinstatement of their auction authority, but supported the stopgap bill at an oversight hearing held by the committee on November 30.

“The licensees deserve to get access to that spectrum,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said at the hearing. “You’re going to hopefully expedite the day when they do.”

T-mobile would see the biggest expansion if the bill becomes law. It spent over $300 million on 7,156 licenses in the band.