Press Releases

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, urged the committee to advance their “WiFi Innovation Act,” which aims to find answers to whether spectrum in the upper 5GHz band can be safely shared for multiple uses, opening up new avenues for technological innovation.
 
“Senator Booker and I joined together earlier this year to introduce the WiFi Innovation Act because we recognized the need to free up more unlicensed spectrum to satisfy our increasingly digital world’s growing demands,” Rubio said. “By moving forward on testing the sharing capabilities of the 5GHz band, we may also move forward in realizing the potential economic opportunities that lie with using this band more efficiently.”
 
“Expanding access to spectrum can open the door for innovation and the advancement of transformative new technologies,” said Booker. “Government and industry stakeholders must work together to see if a safe path forward is possible. Our WiFi Innovation Act is already moving stakeholders in the right direction to find outcomes, and I hope the bill will be given the opportunity for debate and deliberation in the Commerce Committee. I know that by working together, we can evaluate whether this valuable resource can be shared safely and look forward to working more with Committee leadership and stakeholders on this issue.”
 
“We write to urge you to seek a path forward and find answers to whether spectrum in the 5 GHz band can be safely shared,” the senators wrote in a letter to Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL). “Increased use of unlicensed technologies and better utilization of spectrum are vital to alleviating the spectrum crunch, expanding Wi-Fi use and promoting cutting edge innovations.”
 
A PDF of the letter is available here, and the full text is below:
 
June 10, 2015
 
The Honorable John Thune
Chairman
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
512 Dirksen Senate Office Building
 
The Honorable Bill Nelson
Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
425 Hart Senate Office Building
 
Dear Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson,
 
As sponsors of the Wi-Fi Innovation Act, we have a keen understanding of the unprecedented need to utilize limited spectrum resources effectively and efficiently. We applaud your leadership of the Committee and your work on technology and telecommunications issues. We write to urge you to seek a path forward and find answers to whether spectrum in the 5 GHz band can be safely shared. Increased use of unlicensed technologies and better utilization of spectrum are vital to alleviating the spectrum crunch, expanding Wi-Fi use, and promoting cutting edge innovations. 
 
As you know, the upper 5 GHz band is currently allocated for satellite services and Intelligent Transportation Systems, such as vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) technologies. These technologies have the potential to save lives across our nation’s highways and our legislation provides clear protections for these uses, while also ensuring government and industry parties are held accountable for effective and responsible use of the spectrum. Since our bill was introduced, the auto and technology sectors have started working together to voluntarily test to determine if spectrum sharing is possible and we believe this is a meaningful step in the right direction. With additional oversight and leadership from Congress, we are confident that a reasonable and safe solution can be found.
 
We respectfully request your assistance with moving this issue forward, either by moving the Wi-Fi Innovation Act through to markup or by other means to find a solution to this important issue. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
 
Sincerely,
 
Marco Rubio
 
Cory Booker