Exclusive: Rep. Lance explains how the AIRWAVES Act kickstarts 5G expansion

Conference attendee uses an interactive FCC map to check out the country's Internet coverage. (Photo courtesy of the FCC)

The New Jersey congressman sponsoring the AIRWAVES Act told Big League Politics why his bill is an important step in the national effort to reboot the expansion of 5G Internet service.


“People care about Internet policy,” said Rep. Leonard J. Lance (R.-N.J.), the vice-chair of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee.

“We have a chance to put a bipartisan bill on the President’s desk that will actually improve service and reliability – at a time when consumers are demanding more and more data,” the congressman said.

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“We need to make sure enough commercial spectrum is available as we try to win the international race to 5G. This should pass with overwhelming bipartisan support,” he said. “There are unserved areas that don’t enjoy the high-speed service of metropolitan areas. It’s time to end this divide.”

The bill seeks to encourage the federal government to free up more spectrum for commercial licensed and unlicensed use, he said.

More spectrum will improve data service from all providers and help close geographic gaps in coverage, he said. Unlicensed spectrum will also help support the usage of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies, among other innovations.

The Lance bill is cosponsored by the senior Democrat on the subcommittee, Pennsylvania’s Rep. Michael F. Doyle.

“I’m very proud that this legislation requires that 10 percent of the proceeds from the spectrum auctions included in this bill would go toward the buildout of wireless broadband in rural America,” Doyle said.

“These are much-needed investments that would benefit unserved and underserved communities,” he said.

“To compete in the 21st century we must have a robust spectrum pipeline so we can win the race to 5G as we did with 4G LTE,” Lance said.

“We also have to close the connectivity divide and bring reliable Internet service to a larger segment of Americans – especially those in unserved areas,” he said.

The legislation includes requirements to make sure rural areas get attention by dedicating certain proceeds from spectrum auctions go directly into development for wireless broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved areas, he said.

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Neil W. McCabe is a Washington-based political journalist and editor. Before joining Big League Politics, he was the Capitol Hill correspondent for Breitbart News, where he also led Breitbart's political polling operation and wrote up the Breitbart-Gravis polls. McCabe's other positions include the One America News DC Bureau Chief, a senior reporter at Human Events and a staff reporter at The Pilot, Boston's Catholic paper. McCabe also was the editor of The Somerville News, The (North Cambridge, Mass.) Alewife and served as an Army combat historian in Iraq. His 2013 e-book The Unfriendly Skies examined how the American airline industry went from deregulation in the late 1970s to come full circle to the highly-regulated, highly-taxed industry it is today.


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