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Guthrie’s SMART Spectrum Act Advances to House Floor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brett Guthrie’s (KY-02) bill that would strengthen and improve the utilization of the nation’s spectrum resource passed the full Energy and Commerce Committee today.

Guthrie introduced the Simplifying Management, Reallocation, and Transfer of Spectrum Act, or SMART Spectrum Act, to enhance the reliability of spectrum for federal and non-federal users and to provide underutilized federal spectrum for commercial use.

“Spectrum is a valuable resource that not only plays a critical role in commerce and daily communications, but also in our country’s national security. As new wireless technologies, including 5G, are being deployed, open spectrum is becoming more in demand and scarcer. I introduced the SMART Spectrum Act to improve the federal government’s ability to efficiently manage this finite resource. The tool created in this bill would better facilitate spectrum sharing for commercial users to take advantage of spectrum that the federal government is not fully utilizing and would strengthen the reliability of that spectrum by helping mitigate harmful interference. I would like to thank my colleagues on Energy and Commerce for supporting this bill, and I hope this bill is taken up on the House floor soon,” said Guthrie.

The SMART Spectrum Act would establish an Incumbent Informing Capability system at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to facilitate spectrum sharing between federal entities and between federal and non-federal users operating in federal spectrum. Federal and non-federal users could use this information sharing capability to communicate what time, where geographically, and in which band of electromagnetic spectrum the users are operating. This exchange of information allows federal and non-federal users to share spectrum that is not being fully utilized by the federal government and helps mitigate harmful interference.

The SMART Spectrum Act passed as part of the Spectrum Innovation Act of 2022, which extends the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) auction authority and provides funding for unmet needs for the “rip and replace” program. Guthrie co-authored the bill that created the “rip and replace” program, which reimburses small and rural providers for replacing untrusted equipment in their network. This is critical to protect networks in the United States from untrusted vendors from adversarial countries, such as China.