tv Hearing on Future of Spectrum CSPAN August 2, 2022 2:35pm-3:00pm EDT
after being advised that the conditions were optimal, i gave the final approval to go get him. the mission was a success. none of his family members were hurt and there were no civilian casualties. i am sharing this news with the american people now after confirming the missions total success through the painstaking work of our counterterrorism community and key allies and partners. [inaudible]
>> the hearing on the subcommittee of communications, media and broadband will now come to order. today, the subcommittee is convening a hearing on the future of spectrum. i want to thank ranking member thune and ranking member of the full committee, roger wicker, for working to get this scheduled and for being here for this important hearing, and also to the chair for the work she has done in this space, as well as her staff and the staff of the full committee. important to this conversation and having a coming together, if you will, of spectrum policy,
could not be more immediate with an upcoming deadline that must you met spectrum is a limited natural resource and the challenges are many. we have spectrum challenges across the industry, government, technology, policy and politics. when we don't find solutions, those challenges can become a national crisis. i hope those last two words get the attention of those that have not yet or do not see the reauthorization in that way. licensed and unlicensed spectrum under lays the broadband that allows us to an -- communicate with friends and family and utilize telehealth, but that are also used for national security purposes. it matters and it depends so greatly on how these resources are managed and how we can coordinate to make better use of them.
spectrum helps us respond to floods and wildfires and other natural disasters, and even allows us to see the deepest stars and explore the origins of our universe, to places like central new mexico. this hearing will consider the many challenges we face as we manage this essential and limited resource. there are many things to consider, including commercial challenges and identify privately licensed spectrum bands to ensure that supply meets the demand. challenges between federal agencies, each with critical missions, negotiating how to best use spectrum and technical and engineering challenges, the solutions of which might enable more spectrum sharing and fire closer coordination. we also have policy challenges. many uses of spectrum do not have a clear market value, or should they. it is impossible to put a price on national security, public
safety, or promoting innovation through unlicensed spectrum or scientific research. finally, we have political challenges. spectrum is one of the few policy areas under our committee's jurisdiction that generates revenue. to date, these options have raised over $230 billion for the federal government. we have important decisions to make not just on spectrum policy , but on how revenue might open doors and support other critical priorities in the united states and abroad. the authority congress granted to the federal communications commission to conduct spectrum auctions expires september 30. the future of spectrum depends on the decisions we make in this company and the conversations we will have today. congress must act to ensure that spectrum use best meets the public interest, and i believe spectrum requires -- i apologize, i believe spectrum
revenues should be devoted in part to updating our 911 systems and promoting digital equity. building on the work of other senators during the c band auction. we must do more to ensure the way that we are allocating spectrum provides equity. innovative auctions, structures, efforts like the cprs and tribal priority window have demo dated -- demonstrated that policy can be tailored to meet the needs of rural areas. increasing participation can allow our tribes and pueblos to exercise their sovereignty on the airwaves over tribal lands. i am excited by the progress we have already made -- last week, the house cleared a bipartisan bill extending fcc spectrum auction authority. the bill also restored and cia as the lead agency for spectrum decision by including my spectrum innovation act, which i introduced with ranking member
food -- ranking member thune in the senate. yesterday, a day before this hearing, the fcc signed an understanding that structures how agencies resolve spectrum challenges. this will reaffirm and cia and fcc's roles in managing our spectrum resources. it addresses many of the challenges for managing rod band and other bands -- apologize, that have a significant federal agency stakeholder. finally, the mou promotes better coordination and emphasizes evidence-based policymaking, something we need more of here in congress. ranking member thune and i structured this hearing towards that goal. there is a broad interest from our colleagues across the united dates senate and many who have
been working on this issue during their entire time in the united states senate. our consensus of panel brings together expert in the field of spectrum management with years in the field managing these resources directly or engaging in the broader debate at a national ale. with that, mr. chairman, i want to introduce our witnesses. but i will go to you first, sir, for an opening statement. i want to thank mr. wicker, our ranking member of the full committee, to be here with us to open up the hearing. we will welcome the ranking member of the subcommittee, the republican whip, upon his arrival. >> we expect senator thune to be here very soon. the subcommittee is convening to discuss the state of spectrum policy in the united states. thank you to chairman lujan and others for holding this important hearing.
i welcome our distinguished panel of witnesses -- i cannot wait to hear your testimony. this conversation is particularly timely, as the chair noted, with the expiration of the fcc statutory auction authority in less than two months. spectrum is a critical component of enabling innovation in our modern wireless economy. we have seen time and again how unleashing spectrum for commercial use generates new, cutting-edge technologies and applications for consumers. although appetite for commercial spectrum continues to grow exponentially, there is growing demand from federal agencies. auctions have proved to be a winning solution for allocating frequencies. not only do they provide a market mechanism for who should receive a license, it provides revenue for the treasury, as our distinguished chair just stated, since 1993,
when $230 billion -- more than 200 billion dollars has been collected, and that reducing the federal deficit. but the fcc statutory authority to conduct auctions is set to expire september 30. if we do not act swiftly, the agency may lose its ability to award licenses through competitive bidding. this is important with the recent start of an auction with frequencies at 2.5 gigahertz. if that auction is ongoing when the authority expires, it could cause into question the ability to finish the proceeding. one of the reasons spectrum auctions have been so successful , bitter certainty. -- bidder certainty. they know they will receive the license they bid on under the
fcc rules. any inaction or action reduces the certainty risks, depressing the value of spectrum. bidders began to lose confidence that the fcc will have the legal authority to fleet and option, we should expect bidding to be affected. congress can act to ensure that there is no lapse in authority and no reason for bidders to doubt. a short-term extension of auction authority would allow the committee to continue working with stakeholders to develop a session that identifies specific bands for auction in the coming years. this approach of legislating the auction of particular frequencies has proved successful in recent years and we get all parties involved the ability to plan ahead. it would allow us the time to draft statutory texts without any disruption to the fcc's duties, identify specific
with these for auction as well as timelines and other can iteration which create a path to success in the united states. given the very short time for expiration of auction authority, a short-term extension is needed. beyond the extension of auction authority, we should look to the expert spectrum management agencies for guidance as the nation continues to strive for leadership in the race to 5g and beyond. the fcc and national telecommunications communication administration have worked with their respect to stakeholders to make spectrum available for commercial use while continuing to seek ways to meet the needs of federal agencies. i want to recognize that although our federal agencies are certainly inherent, these important decisions should be made by the expert agencies tasked by this statute with these responsibilities. high-profile disputes and disagreements only weaken our
spectrum management systems. these concerns should be handled through existing processes and should be resolved using technical analysis and data. spectrum policy is complex and congress has a role to play in shaping it. i would urge my colleagues to support a short-term extension of auction authority. this would allow the fcc to continue its important work while we work with stakeholders to develop more comprehensive legislation, laying out a long-term pipeline of frequencies for auction. i would also hope to work on legislative efforts to improve the coordination between federal agents these, an -- nctia, and the fcc. >> thank you for your thoughtfulness in this arena as well, mr. wicker. next, we will hear from ranking
member of the subcommittee, our republican whip, for his opening statement. mr. thune? >> thank you, chairman lujan, for holding what i think is a timely hearing. the ability to conduct spectrum options expire. the last time this committee held any hearings related to spectrum management was july 2020, when i was serving as chairman of the subcommittee. while i have been disappointed in the lack of progress on this issue, i hope moving forward, we can work collaboratively. spectrum is the lifeblood of wireless communications. in the global race, we deploy these networks and services, management of these resources has never been more important. it's important for those of us in more rural parts of the country. if inadequacy of spectrum resources makes 5g less viable, it will be the rural areas where it no longer makes sense to
deploy next-generation telecommunications services. the fcc took an important step in bringing 5g services to more rural and tribal areas by beginning the auction of the two gigahertz -- 2.5 gigahertz band. we should ensure this auction continues and is completed without any delays. at the same time, i believe it is equally important for congress to build upon the success of the mobile now act and china for 5g act by developing legislation in the key spectrums of the pipeline. one such place to start would be legislation introduced earlier this year. the spectrum innovation act would free up prime mid band spectrum, allowing the spectrum to be options for mobile services. by and acting a pipeline bill, congress provides regulatory certainty and predictability. when the spectrum is made available, it's essential there are clear rules and recognized rights for spectrum users.
it's important to note the spectrum pipeline bill will take some time. it will acquire government agencies, industry and other groups competing for these resources to come together. by doing so, we can make interests -- decisions in the interest of our national security. i know firsthand the complexity of this issue and the time it takes to work with stakeholders on spectrum legislation. the last time congress extended the fcc's general auction authority was back in 2012. at that time, congress provided the fcc with specific direction on the bands that should be can or auction. it also took years to get there. some of the spectrum bands were identified in the national broadband plan two years earlier. some the subject of multiple congressional hearings in the years leading to its passage. some reports by the end tia and fcc's office of technology, we
extended auction authority. it is my hope that this committee can work together in a bipartisan manner to develop a larger spectrum package. sound spectrum management also requires coordination between ntia and the fcc. it's important this is done regularly, so i would encourage this committee to advance the improving spectrum coordination act, which is legislation i have sponsored with ranking member wicker and senators lujan and blackburn. as more and more americans rely on connectivity like wi-fi, we must also recognize the critical role of unlicensed spectrum in the communications landscape. it's responsible for transmitting a significant amount of data in our networks that play a tremendous role in the development of the internet of things. finally, as we work towards
freeing up additional licenses, we must take action to remove barriers to large-scale 5g deployment. the streamline act, for example, would expedite employment of the small sales needed for 5g and elation -- installation while respecting the role of state and local governments in making these decisions. and it would make it more affordable to bring 5g to rural areas by addressing the cost of small-scale deployment. i look forward to discussing all of these issues with our panelists today and appreciate all of you being here. thank you. >> thank you, mr. thune. we appreciate your work as well. next, i want to introduce our witnesses, and then we will hear from them. i want to welcome mr. chris lewis, ceo and president of public knowledge, leading one of the predominant public
telecommunications organizations and former staff at the fcc and here at the united states senate. next, the honorable meredith baker, ceo and president of ctia , representing the wireless association's largest spectrum of users of the spectrum. next, we have the director of physical infrastructure at the government accountability office , with years of experience evaluating spectrum management over at the fcc and end tia -- and ntia. then we will hear from our fourth witness today, dr. b azlan, with knowledge of wireless options, spectrum management, and competition policy, and formerly an anise -- an analyst at
cio. i look forward to your testimony here as well. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member thune, ranking member wicker, thank you for having me here. i would like to summarize four guideposts that can structure innovation and provide access to communications for all. the first guidepost, we should center the public-interest objectives set by congress in our national spectrum strategy. congress directed the fcc to design spectrum auctions to safeguard public interest and make robust service available for all americans. this included promoting competition and economic opportunity, preventing excessive consolidations, providing opportunities for
small businesses, especially women-owned businesses, and making sure they effectively serve the public communications needs. we think creatively about how to best advance all of these objectives. for example, rural and tribal areas can benefit from small and creative policies. just last month, the ranking member mentioned chairwoman rosen were sold modified the special licensing rules to increase access for small carriers in tribal nations. congress could further close the access gap where the need is greatest, with simple direction to the fcc. expanded use of tribal windows in auction rules or mandate the use of spectrum sharing for authorized access systems on tribal lands. guidepost number two, we stop the balanced approach in spectrum access models. we are in the midst of a connectivity revolution and the average number of connected
devices per home has risen from 11 in 2019 to 25 in 2021. smart tv's, doorbells, even washing machines now rely on spectrum and mostly unlicensed spectrum. even licensed services rely on unlicensed technology to unload their data on congested airways, and wi-fi is so ubiquitous, most americans think of it as synonymous with at-home broadband. the demand on licensed and unlicensed spectrum underscores a mix of those regimes to meet national connectivity demands. unfortunately, there are few spectrum opportunities remaining. the success of cprs and the sharing regime demonstrates that as long as we're willing to follow the facts, they can create more opportunity for innovation and shared licensed
and unlicensed allocations. number three, we should commit to a long-term spectrum plan. thanks to the bipartisan efforts of congress, the trump administration on the biden administration, wireless providers have access to 5g systems. even though the industry is already looking to 60 and wi-fi seven, standard for these systems are still years away. or 5g race with china now relies on carriers spending money to deploy networks, not on new spec trum options. an 18 month extension of option authority will not allow that careful planning. a long-term commitment by signaling that the fcc will have future options will give stakeholders the knowledge to develop future plans. a report could even be issued to identify potential bands and how they will be used to structure commercial use.
finally, number four. we must prioritize public interest needs when spending public revenue for auction -- from auctions. the reality, there are several national priorities that private investment either won't or can't fund. digital equity programs help knock down barriers to broadband adoption and help communities make greater use of their connectivity. congress provided some funding for these efforts in the broadband infrastructure package. a more sustainable source of funding is needed. we would support the airways for equity initiative, which ♪ supports setting aside funds for digital inclusion efforts. other proposals have also received bipartisan support as public interest funding needs, and they should be public-interest funding needs. the bottom line, these objectives canon should be earmarked to be paid first from revenue auctions, using public
dollars to promote the health of the sector and connect all americans to critical telecommunications services. thank you. i look forward to your questions did >> our friend and commissioner? >> good afternoon, and thank you. thanks to all of you for picking my favorite topic, spectrum. i applied your leadership from mobile now to the spectrum innovation act. we lead the world in wireless thanks to you, and we need the committee's leadership now more than ever we have an opportunity to drive next-generation leadership with 5g and a commitment to the future with national commitment to spectrum policy built on greater licensed been banned access. i will start with the good news. i testified before this committee in 2019 about what 5g could be.
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