Senate Introduces Rural WIFI Bill

Would Encourage Leasing Spectrum to Small Carriers

In what was a busy day for bipartisan communications-related bills, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) have introduced a bipartisan bill to boost wireless broadband access in rural communities.

S. 417, The Rural Spectrum Accessibility Act, would give wireless carriers an incentive to lease unused spectrum to smaller and rural carriers: a three-year extension of their wireless licenses.

Fischer used the announcement to criticize, at least obliquely, the Federal Communications Commission's proposed vote on Title II reclassification of Internet access. In the announcement, Fischer's office pointed out that she has "called for increased congressional oversight of the FCC to ensure proposed regulations on broadband do not place unnecessary or obsolete burdens on businesses and middle-class families."

Also introduced Tuesday were bipartisan bills in both the House and Senate to boost unlicensed WIFI use, as well as a bipartisan bill to prevent Internet access taxes, plus a not as partisan bill to reform FCC processes.