ACI Statement on the Senate’s Spectrum Pipeline Act of 2024

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – The American Consumer Institute (ACI) is pleased to learn that today Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Thune (R-SD) have introduced a new bill to identify midband spectrum and reauthorize the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) authority to auction additional spectrum for commercial purposes. We believe the bill represents a critical step toward securing American leadership in the wireless landscape and ensuring that the FCC has all the tools it needs to meet the growing demand for licensed spectrum.

In March of last year, Congress allowed the FCC’s auctioning authority to expire for the first time in its history. As a result, for over a year, the Commission has been unable to hold regular auctions where commercial providers can bid on exclusive access to specific radio frequencies necessary for building wireless networks that allow for the delivery of products and services to consumers. This has put commercial investment in unnecessary jeopardy.

It has also unnecessarily denied the government a reliable stream of revenue. Since 1993, FCC auctions have generated more than $233 billion for the U.S. Treasury. That’s money that can be used to fund future government programs and services like next-generation 911 services.

This bill aims to set things right by restoring the FCC’s ability to auction licensed spectrum through September 30, 2027. It also establishes a healthy pipeline of spectrum that can be used to meet future demand for this valuable resource. Specifically, it directs the National Telecommunications and Information Association to identify at least 2500 MHz of spectrum in the 1.3 gigahertz and 13.2 gigahertz band and have the FCC hold auctions for commercial use over several years.

ACI commends Senators Cruz and Thune for proposing this important piece of legislation. We strongly believe that reauthorizing the FCC’s auctioning authority and developing a robust spectrum pipeline are both urgent priorities. We humbly ask that Congress consider supporting the Spectrum Pipeline Act as an important first step toward securing America’s wireless future.

The American Consumer Institute is a nonprofit education and research organization. For more information about the Institute, visit www.TheAmericanConsumer.Org or follow us on X @ConsumerPal.