President Biden’s telecom picks face a growing pile of spectrum fights once confirmed

Coverage Type: 

House Energy and Commerce lawmakers are offering bipartisan grumbling about whether President Biden’s executive branch is properly coordinating with the Federal Communications Commission on how to manage wireless airwaves. Their latest concern: the Federal Aviation Administration issuing warnings about possible disruption to airplane equipment from wireless carriers’ use of 5G-friendly airwaves in the C-band. This means there will be pressure on the leaders Biden has tapped to head the FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) — Jessica Rosenworcel and Alan Davidson, respectively, who will likely face their confirmation hearing in mid-November. Executive branch agencies shouldn’t unilaterally question FCC decisions, lawmakers argue, and instead should coordinate through the NTIA, which oversees federal airwave issues (the FCC handles commercial ones). Such skirmishes repeatedly arose during the Trump era, with the departments of Education, Energy, Commerce, Defense and Transportation challenging various FCC decisions on spectrum. Other percolating spectrum fights pit Biden officials at the departments of Defense, Transportation and Commerce Department against the FCC on the agency’s Trump-era decisions involving GPS and auto safety airwaves.

Biden's Telecom Picks Brace for Spectrum Chaos