Exclusives : Spectrum Act Stuck Amid US Senators’ Dispute

Spectrum Act Stuck Amid US Senators’ Dispute

The session to analyse the Spectrum and National Security Act at the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has been postponed for the fourth time. It was scheduled for June 18th.

According to Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Committee, the session was obstructed by “certain Republican committee members,” led by Senator Ted Cruz. She is also the bill’s sponsor.

The obstruction enacted a strong reaction from Cantwell. “We had a chance to secure affordable broadband for millions of Americans, but Senator Cruz said ‘no’,” the Democrat said in a press statement.

“Rather than fixing our internet security issues, creating more broadband competition, and fostering cooperation between defence and commercial users, Senator Cruz, instead, is stoking culture wars,” she added.

Cantwell also took to the Senate floor later on Tuesday to criticise the Republicans and back up the Spectrum Act.

“Increasing more spectrum also would lead to greater adoption of new technologies like the OpenRAN system, another alternative to an open system that would help our telecom providers upgrade our infrastructure to new spectrum and get rid of the Chinese technology,” said the Committee Chair. “I hope my colleagues will stop with obstructing and get back to negotiating.”

Fight Over Priorities

Besides reinstating the broadband affordability program, the Act would impact other areas of telecommunications. For example, it would promote advanced spectrum-sharing technologies – an approach experts deem crucial for the 6G development.

According to Cantwell, Senator Cruz and other Republicans “sought a series of votes on purely partisan amendments designed to stoke division and delay” of the session.

“One amendment would eliminate National Science Foundation (NSF) funding to any university that allows transgender athletes to compete. Another would ban low-income students who receive Pell Grants from receiving assistance for broadband. Several amendments targeted undocumented immigrants,” her staff pointed out in a press release.

A report from Broadband Breakfast adds other reasons why the new Spectrum regulation has been delayed so many times. According to the website, Republicans want more eligibility requirements and less focus on spectrum sharing.

6GWorld asked Senator Ted Cruz’s staff for comments but has not received a reply by the time of publication. This write-up will be updated to include any additional comments from Senator Cruz.

Featured image by C-SPAN




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