Senator Introduces New Bill to Auction 3.1 – 3.45 GHz, NG 9-1-1 Funding Not Included
Tuesday, September 20, 2022 | Comments

Senator Mike Lee introduced a new bill that would require the FCC to auction spectrum in the 3.1 – 3.45 GHz band. However, unlike a recent House of Representatives bill, the auction proceeds would not support next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) funding.

At the end of July, the House of Representatives approved a bill that would require the FCC to mandate the 3.1 – 3.45 spectrum. Of the proceeds from that auction, the first $3.4 billion would be used by the FCC to fund reimbursements under the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019. Under that bill, the FCC can provide reimbursements to small communications providers to offset the costs of removing and replacing equipment deemed to be a national security threat from their networks.

After that, the remainder of the proceeds, with a cap of $10 billion, would go to fund NG 9-1-1 deployment across the nation. While that bill has been approved by the house, the Senate has not taken it up yet.

Senate Bill 4820, the “Protecting Communications Networks from Chinese Communist Party Espionage Act,” would give the FCC seven years from its passage to auction off the 3.1 – 3.45 spectrum. The bill would also give the FCC the authority to borrow up to $3.7 billion from the U.S. Treasury to help support the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019.

Proceeds from the spectrum auction would first be used to cover 110% percent of the relocation costs of federal entities that have to leave the auctioned frequencies. After that, the auction proceeds will go to reimburse treasury for any borrowed funds. Any remaining funds after that would be deposited to the U.S. Treasury’s general fund to reduce the federal deficit.

The bill was introduced on September 12, and the Senate has taken no actions on it.

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