FCC Reauthorization Bill (RAY BAUM Act) Passes House

The "Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act of 2018" (RAY BAUM Act) (HR 4986) has been unanimously approved by the House. The bill was named in honor of the late Energy & Commerce staff director, who died in February. It is expected to pass the Senate as well.

Among many other things, the bill reauthorizes the Federal Communications Commission (for the first time in 28 years), allocates more money for the post-broadcast incentive auction repack, and creates new funds for radio stations, low power TV stations, and translators (none of whom were included in the initial repack fund). The bill also includes FCC reforms, the MOBILE Act promoting 5G next-gen wireless, expands access to rural broadband, expands veterans' access to broadband, promotes "dig once" policies for broadband buildouts when doing road work, promotes better data for wireless coverage areas, improves broadband access on tribal lands, eliminating a report on telegraph competition still on the books, a fix on an auction deposits issue that will now allow the FCC to hold future auctions, 911 call improvements, NTIA cybersecurity coordination, and much more.

FCC Reauthorization Bill (RAY BAUM Act) Passes House House votes to reauthorize the FCC (The Hill)