The House passed three telecommunications measures by voice vote on Tuesday. Lawmakers urged swift action on the measures in the Senate.
“From keeping Americans better informed during emergencies to promoting 5G coordination, competitiveness and security, these three bills will create a better, safer communications network for us all,” said House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA). “At its core, our telecommunications infrastructure exists to serve the public interest and connect our nation, and we are proud of the bipartisan work that went into advancing that goal with these three bills.”
Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH) said: “The COVID-19 pandemic put a much-needed focus on the need to ensure all Americans are connected, especially during times of emergency, and that our networks are secure. The bipartisan bills passed [Tuesday] help accomplish these goals by investing in our communications infrastructure, promoting secure technology development, and ensuring preparedness for future emergencies.”
H.R. 6096, the “Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement (READI) Act of 2020,” introduced by Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Pete Olson (R-TX), amends the Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act to classify wireless emergency alerts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a message that carriers may not allow subscribers to block from their devices. The bill also directs the FCC to adopt regulations to ease coordination with State Emergency Communications Committees in developing and modernizing State Emergency Alert System (EAS) plans. Finally, the READI Act directs the Commission to examine the feasibility of modernizing the EAS by expanding alert distribution to the internet and streaming services.
H.R. 6624, the “Utilizing Strategic Allied (USA) Telecommunications Act of 2020,” was introduced by Pallone, Walden and Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Doris Matsui (D-CA). The bill creates a new grant program through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to promote technology that enhances supply chain security and market competitiveness in wireless communications networks.
H.R. 7310, the “Spectrum IT Modernization Act of 2020,” was introduced by Doyle and Latta, as well as Reps. Rick Larsen (D-WA) and Tim Walberg (R-MI). It requires NTIA – in consultation with the Policy and Plans Steering Group – to submit to Congress a report on its plans to modernize agency information technology systems relating to managing federal spectrum use.