It’s entirely possible for Congress to enact a net neutrality bill this year, but there is little time to spare. Posturing should give way to negotiating. That’s the only way that both sides of the aisle and both sides of Capitol Hill will be able to point to a real accomplishment: putting core open internet provisions in statute law.
Opportunities would arise from putting frequencies in the 2.5 GHz Educational Broadband Service spectrum band into an incentive auction. Not only could the government’s share of the proceeds be put toward closing the Homework Gap, but underutilized mid-band spectrum could fuel the deployment of 5G.
Net neutrality has been among the most contentious policy issues in telecommunications or almost any other area over the past decade. But there is a real way forward to solve this issue instead of continuing to debate it at a time when the country should be focusing on advancing 5G technology.
Because 5G is so much more powerful than the previous generations of mobile technology, the need for spectrum to take advantage of 5G’s potential is likewise more complex. Congress can help by passing the AIRWAVES Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in the last Congress which would establish a schedule for future spectrum auctions over the next five years to help ensure U.S. preeminence in 5G.