Rep. Kuster’s bill to boost broadband in rural NH heads to Biden’s desk

The House of Representatives this week passed the 5G Spectrum Authority Licensing Enforcement (SALE) Act, a bill cosponsored by Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By Colin Booth

December 13, 2023

The House of Representatives this week passed the 5G Spectrum Authority Licensing Enforcement (SALE) Act, a bill cosponsored by Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) expected to substantially enhance 5G network coverage in rural areas across the United States, including New Hampshire. 

The bill, which passed the Senate in September, has now been sent to the President for his signature.

The 5G SALE Act grants the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) temporary auction to activate over 50 currently dormant cell sites in New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District. This development, advocated for by Congresswoman Kuster, has been seen as a major step towards improving digital connectivity in rural and underserved areas.

“I’m thrilled to see the 5G SALE Act heading to the president’s desk to expand 5G connectivity across New Hampshire,” said Kuster. “This bill will allow broadband providers to turn on existing cell sites, providing service to over 130,000 people in New Hampshire’s Second District, many in rural and underserved areas. I urge the president to sign this into law quickly.” 

In 2022, the FCC auctioned around 8,000 licenses for broadband spectrum access, a necessary step for legal 5G service provision. A legislative gap, however, left the FCC without the authority to grant these licenses, despite companies having completed payments. The 5G SALE Act aims to correct this oversight and is expected to make a significant improvement in the connectivity landscape of New Hampshire.

Author

  • Colin Booth

    Based in Epsom, Colin Booth is Granite Post's political correspondent. A Granite State native and veteran political professional with a deep background in journalism, he's worked on campaigns and programs in battleground states across the country, ranging from New Hampshire, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

Politics

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