MOBILE Now Fans Queue Up

The MOBILE Now Act continued to collect plaudits Thursday following the Senate Commerce Committee's unanimous recommendation that the bill be reported favorably to the full Senate for a vote.

The bill included an amendment requiring at least 100 MHz of the high-band spectrum freed up for 5G to go to unlicensed uses.

"We appreciate the efforts by members of the Senate Commerce Committee, including the leadership of Senators Thune, Nelson, Schatz, Moran, Booker and Gardner, to address the growing need for more unlicensed spectrum as part of the MOBILE NOW Act," said the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. "In today's connected age, demand for unlicensed technologies like Wi-Fi will continue to grow, making it even more important for policymakers to develop long-term plans that will promote economic growth and meet America's future needs for Internet connectivity.”

And joining NCTA in praising the bill was NTCA (the rural broadband association). The bill includes spurs to rural broadband deployment.

“NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association applauds the leadership of Committee Chairman John Thune (R–S.D) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who sponsored this legislation that would make more licensed and unlicensed spectrum available for broadband use and reduce barriers to wireless investment and innovation," the group said. "Spectrum is the lifeblood of the wireless industry—rural carriers require access to finite spectrum resources, and we appreciate the committee’s efforts to help providers meet consumers’ demands."

“The association also greatly appreciates Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Steve Daines (R–Mont.) for their continued dedication to rural America and its telecommunications providers. Their foundational work on matters such as ‘dig once’ provisions and rural spectrum accessibility could ultimately expand broadband deployment to the benefit of consumers, competition and small businesses, while also promoting public safety, respecting private investment in existing networks and improving access to education, economic opportunities and social engagement."

“T-Mobile applauds Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson on the bipartisan MOBILE NOW Act, aimed at bringing more spectrum to market and streamlining the siting of wireless infrastructure," said T-Mobile VP of legislative affairs Tony Russo. "We appreciate the Committee’s interest in making sure the wireless marketplace remains competitive and vibrant for the benefit of consumers.”

“Today’s vote advancing the MOBILE NOW Act is an important step toward meeting America’s future telecommunications needs," said Phillip Berenbroick, counsel for government affairs at Public Knowledge. "We are pleased that the bill, as amended, includes significant spectrum for both licensed and unlicensed use, and directs the FCC and NTIA to develop a national plan to ensure there is sufficient spectrum available for innovative unlicensed operations. Today’s vote is a key moment illustrating the overwhelming consensus that unlicensed spectrum has become a critical driver of innovation and economic growth in the United States, and democratizes access to the public airwaves."

“Additionally, we are pleased the bill takes important steps toward improving broadband infrastructure deployment in federal highway projects and on federal, state, and local government property."

“We applaud Senators Thune and Nelson in moving the Mobile Now act to encourage the growth of 5G and the overall expansion of wireless broadband," said INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering. "As the bill seeks to streamline siting of communications facilities on federal lands, it is important to note that reducing barriers to deploying a robust wireline network is also a vital component in fulfilling the promise of 5G; a key reason why policies like 'dig once' are so critical.  We are grateful for Senator Klobuchar’s leadership on this issue and for Senators Thune and Nelson’s efforts in crafting the bipartisan agreement reached today."

“AT&T commends Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson on the Senate Commerce Committee’s approval of the MOBILE NOW Act," said AT&T executive VP of federal relations Tim McKone. "This bipartisan bill is a step in the right direction – ensuring more spectrum is made available for commercial use and reducing the bureaucratic red tape that often delays broadband buildout.  We look forward to continuing to work with the Chairman and the entire Committee as this bill moves forward.”

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.