Senate Commerce Approves Mobile Now Act

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The Mobile Now Act, which would take numerous steps to boost wireless broadband, passed unanimously out of the Senate Commerce Committee loaded with amendments on everything from shot-clocks for approving facilities, to dig-once policies for combining road projects and telecom plant, to a contest offering up to $5 million for the first person to come up with a way to boost spectrum efficiency.

The bipartisan bill, which specifically targets the buildout of 5G mobile broadband, was the result of months of negotiations, and Commerce Chairman John Thune (R-SD) said he thought the bill had a good chance for passage by the full Senate. Included in the bill was an amendment, backed by, among others, wireless broadband spectrum fan Sen Marco Rubio (D-FL) that would insure that at least 100 MHz of the spectrum being freed up would go for unlicensed use and another 100 MHz for commercial mobile service, with a handwritten addition to the amendment saying that commercial use was "subject to the [FCC's] regulatory purview to implement exclusive licensing in a flexible manner, including consideration of continued use of such spectrum by incumbent federal or non-federal entities in designated geographic areas indefinitely."

Senate Commerce Approves Mobile Now Act Senate panel clears bill to free up airwaves (The Hill) MOBILE Now Spectrum Auction Amendment Withdrawn (B&C) Senate Commerce Committee Approves Mobile Now Act to Increase Spectrum (Public Knowledge statement) Pallone Commends Effort to Help Broadcast Viewers (B&C – Pallone reaction) MOBILE NOW Fans Queue Up (B&C)