As demand for wireless data continues to grow exponentially, the federal government must free up underutilized spectrum for public and commercial use. A wireless network’s capacity to handle data is limited by the amount of spectrum licensed to the provider, and increased data traffic is straining providers’ networks. This “spectrum crunch” jeopardizes innovation, investment, and Americans’ ability to get online. While installing more cell towers could ease the strain, local governments and NIMBYism have made tower construction difficult and impractical. Recognizing the need for Washington to expand unlicensed spectrum use, Senators Marco Rubio and Corey Booker introduced the Wi-Fi Innovation Act last week.
- Republican Rubio: “To meet the demands of our time, action must be taken to ensure spectrum is utilized effectively and efficiently. This bill requires the FCC to conduct testing that would provide more spectrum to the public and ultimately put the resource to better use…”
- Democrat Booker: “Not only does access to wireless broadband open the door for innovation and transformative new technologies, it helps bridge the digital divide that leaves too many low-income communities removed from the evolving technology landscape and the growing economic opportunities. Our bill also authorizes an important study of Wi-Fi deployment in low income communities and the barriers preventing deployment of wireless broadband in those neighborhoods.”
And this is what real-life bipartisanship looks like!