House Reintroduces WiFi Bill

Mirrors Effort to Boost Unlicensed Use in Upper 5-GHz Band

The Federal Communications Commission is getting a WiFi push from both sides of the aisle.

At about the same time Sens. Marco Rubio and Corey Booker were reintroducing a Senate version of legislation to boost exploration of the upper 5-GHz band for unlicensed WiFI use, Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio) were reintroducing a House version of that bill.

“Spectrum is a driver of economic opportunity in our country, serving as the invisible backbone of our digital age and turning our smart devices into connected tools for education, commerce and safety,” said Eshoo, ranking member of the House Communications Subcommittee, whose district includes the Silicon Valley companies eager for more unlicensed spectrum. “[W]e’ve only scratched the surface in optimizing this finite resource. To fully realize its potential, the bipartisan, bicameral WiFi Innovation Act directs the FCC to study how spectrum can be shared and utilized in innovative ways. From offloading mobile data traffic onto Wi-Fi networks to using unlicensed spectrum as a digital sandbox for wireless R&D, the economic benefits are enormous and the technological discovery untold.”

Latta added: “As more and more technologies utilize WiFi to connect to the Internet, the need for increased wireless spectrum grows. The Wi-Fi Innovation Act examines ways to maximize spectrum use by efficiently expanding the deployment of wireless networks and services, so everyone can benefit from next-generation technologies."

The bill's other principal backers are Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.).