The Competitive Carriers Association released a study Wednesday (Oct. 18) that quantifies the economic impact of the bipartisan Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum (AIRWAVES) Act, sponsored by Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). That bill spurs the government to auction vacant spectrum and free up other spectrum for next gen 5G wireless broadband.
The study found that combining upcoming FCC auctions with other planned spectrum auctions will translate to a $2.86 billion capital infusion that will mean a $4.9 billion bump in GDP.
It predicts that the AIRWAVES Act will have a $1.25 billion impact on agriculture, $3.35 billion on healthcare and $890 million on transportation.
The bill requires the FCC to hold auctions in each of the next three years that grant spectrum licenses in various bands, and for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to identify the frequencies for either commercial licensed use or non-federal unlicensed use, and directs the FCC to allocate 10% of the auction proceeds to fund wireless infrastructure in unserved or underserved rural areas.
“This report reaffirms that the bipartisan AIRWAVES Act will make meaningful investments in rural broadband infrastructure, and in turn have a ripple effect on our economy in New Hampshire and throughout the United States," Hassan said in a statement. "The bill will also provide Granite Staters and businesses in rural areas of New Hampshire and across the country with the resources they need to thrive. I’ll keep working to move this legislation forward in order to turn the potential positive economic impact of this bill into a reality for New Hampshire and America.”