The House of Representatives passed Senator John Kennedy’s 5G Spectrum Authority Licensing Enforcement (SALE) Act on 11 December. The bill grants the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a one-time, temporary authority to issue licences purchased in auctions that were held before 9 March 2023 (i.e. when the FCC’s spectrum auction authority was allowed to lapse). Previously, the Senate passed Kennedy’s legislation this September.

Senator Kennedy commented: ‘I’m thankful that the House has sent this bill to the president’s desk so that the job providers who depend on wireless communications in Louisiana and across America can continue to support rural economies. My 5G SALE Act provides Americans with access to broadband by giving the FCC the authority to finish transferring previously auctioned spectrum to companies that offer 5G coverage.’

Controversially, in March the US Senate allowed the FCC’s spectrum auction authority to lapse for the first time since 1994. A bill that would have extended the regulator’s spectrum authority to 19 May was passed by the lower house but objections in the Senate delayed the legislation, resulting in the lapse. To date, the FCC has held more than 100 auctions and has raised more than USD233 billion in revenues.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Auction 108 drew to a close on 29 August 2022 after 73 rounds of bidding. Participating companies successfully bid on 7,872 2.5GHz licences, generating gross proceeds of USD427.790 million. T-Mobile US secured the bulk of the available licences, bidding USD304.325 million for 7,156 regional concessions.

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