March 9, 2024, marks the one-year anniversary since Congress let the FCC’s auction authority expire.

America is fast approaching an important yet troubling milestone. Come March 9, it will have been one year since Congress allowed the Federal Communication Commission’s auctioning authority to lapse. Since then, no legislative proposal to restore auctioning authority has been successful, denying the FCC access to one of its most valuable tools for distributing licensed spectrum.

America’s ability to keep up with growing consumer demand, specifically for licensed mid-band spectrum, and stay competitive internationally depends on Congress moving quickly to restore this capability.

Increasingly aware of the value of spectrum and the role that selling it could have for revenue generation, Congress first granted the FCC auctioning authority in 1993. Commercial providers could bid on exclusive access to specific radio frequencies necessary for building wireless networks that allow for the delivery of quality products and services to customers.

Auctions represented a remarkable improvement over the old system which primarily relied on “hearings and lotteries to select a single licensee from a pool of competing applicants for a license.” Auctions are quicker and more efficient at distributing licenses to providers and more conducive to facilitating future investment in American wireless networks.

Read the full Broadband Breakfast article here.

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