IoT Barrier-Breaking Bill Introduced

U.S. Capitol
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A bipartisan bill has been introduced to finger and eliminate barriers to the development of Internet of Things (IOT) devices.

The Developing and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act is the handiwork of Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.).

The bill is meant to appropriately prioritize the technology, plan for spectrum to support it and ensure interagency coordination. That includes directing the FCC to inventory the spectrum landscape and, generally, avoiding breaking up IoT into regulatory silos.

Related: Rosenworcel Says FCC Should Flex IoT Device Muscle

The bill anticipates that by 2030, there will be 125 billion connected devices generating potentially trillions of dollars in economic activity, the bill points out.

The bill directs the Secretary of Commerce to convene a working group of federal stakeholders, and a steering committee to provide recommendations in a report to Congress on what regulations, statutes, practices or budgetary or jurisdictional challenges could get in the way of IoT development and deployment, as well as what federal regs or activities could be helping IoT, always with an eye toward security.

The working group must also consult with nongovernmental stakeholders including information/communications tech manufacturers, suppliers, service providers, vendors, small businesses, think tanks, nonprofits, rural stakeholders, academia, and others. There will also be a steering committee.

The FCC is directed, in consultation with the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, to issue a notice of inquiry on current and future IoT spectrum connectivity needs, including the role of licensed and unlicensed spectrum. It must submit a report on that spectrum assessment to the Senate Commerce Committee and House Energy & Commerce Committee (as well as each member of the working group) within one year of the enactment of the statute.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.