Rep Matsui Releases Draft of Landmark Win 5G Act

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Rep Doris Matsui (D-CA), vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, released the “WIN 5G Act”. This draft legislation proposes a consensus-based, compromise approach to rapidly and equitably reallocating spectrum between the frequencies of 3.7 GHz-4.2 GHz, commonly referred to as the “C-band”. It also incorporates a framework to reallocate spectrum between 3.45 GHz-3.55 GHz for commercial wireless use, provides research and development resources for commercializing additional spectrum, and creates and funds an all-new Rural Broadband Deployment Fund.

Specifically, the WIN 5G Act requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to designate C-band satellite operators to serve as a transition facilitator that will craft a transition plan for C-band spectrum. The transition plan will include how much spectrum will be made available in the continental United States, together with determinations that: 1) end users will continue to receive comparable quality of service after repurposing for terrestrial mobile use; and 2) that the amount of spectrum proposed is the maximum amount that can be made available. The transition facilitation plan will also include technical, frequency migration, and end-user protection plans and will be submitted to the FCC within 6 months. The FCC will then have 90 days to review the plan to ensure it is adequate.

To ensure the transition facilitator also proposes to make the maximum amount of spectrum it can feasibly make available, the FCC would, within 6 months, auction the spectrum, allowing the transition facilitator to recover an escalating amount of the proceeds from the auction based on how much spectrum is cleared for mobile wireless use. It also creates an opportunity for the transition facilitator to receive an additional incentive payment if they submit a sufficient transition plan on the first instance and begin to procure new satellites necessary for C-band distribution capacity not more than 30 days after the plan is found to be sufficient by the FCC.

The WIN 5G Act also:

  • Allows the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), to use existing – otherwise unused – resources in the Spectrum Relocation Fund to support research-related activities that examine the feasibility of federal spectrum users relocating or sharing spectrum with non-federal users.
  • Requires, within 6 months, agencies operating on 3.45-3.55 GHz to submit a Pipeline Act study to assess whether that spectrum could be made available for commercial use.
  • Requires, after a finding that the 3.45-3.55 GHz band can be made available for commercial wireless services, that this band be identified for auction and reallocated for commercial use.
  • Requires NTIA to consult with the FCC and relevant federal agencies on whether spectrum subject to a plan could be made available on an unlicensed basis, if a study reveals it could not be made available for auction on a licensed basis.
  • Allows, if spectrum frequencies auctioned for non-federal use is the result primarily of NTIA’s research and development, OMB to transfer funds from that auction to go to independent research and development intended to improve the efficiency of federal spectrum use to make available frequencies that have not previously been identified for reallocation and auction.
  • Establishes a new Rural Broadband Deployment Fund to be used by the FCC to expand rural broadband access with proceeds generated by the auctions required by the WIN 5G Act.  

Matsui Releases Draft of Landmark Win 5G Act