Skip to content

Hassan, Gardner AIRWAVES Act Earns Praise Across Industries and Political Parties

Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) recently introduced the Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum (AIRWAVES) Act, which will encourage the federal government to continue to free up spectrum for commercial licensed and unlicensed use and leverage the success of spectrum auctions to help close the urban-rural divide. Learn more about the legislation here.

What They Are Saying:


FCC Chairman Pai

“I am grateful to Senators Gardner and Hassan for introducing the AIRWAVES Act. This bipartisan bill addresses an issue that’s critical to continued American leadership in wireless innovation: making available more spectrum for commercial use. I’m also very pleased that they have proposed a ‘rural dividend,’ under which 10 percent of proceeds from spectrum auctions would be devoted to increasing wireless Internet access in rural areas. This provision would go a long way toward closing the digital divide, which has left too many rural Americans in the analog era. I look forward to working with Senators Gardner and Hassan on their forward-thinking legislation.”

FCC Commissioner O’Reilly

“I applaud Senators Gardner and Hassan for introducing critical spectrum legislation and for their leadership on such an important issue. There is a lot to like in the bill, including firm spectrum deadlines and auctions for key bands. I look forward to working with them and others in Congress as the bill moves forward.”

FCC Commissioner Clyburn

“I applaud today’s bipartisan introduction of the Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum Act (‘AIRWAVES Act’). Senators Gardner and Hassan rightly highlight the need for a ‘comprehensive, technology-neutral spectrum policy that includes licensed, unlicensed, and shared use of spectrum bands. Ensuring that we have a steady pipeline of spectrum to meet the country’s growing need for wireless broadband is vital to our ability to remain on the cutting edge of innovation, promote entrepreneurship, and enable communities to harness the opportunities of broadband. Notably, the bill directs the Commission to study how unlicensed spectrum can be harnessed to meet the needs of rural communities, especially with regard to healthcare, distance learning and agriculture. I am also pleased that the bill proposes that 10 percent of competitive bidding proceeds be set aside for deployment of wireless infrastructure in underserved and unserved areas. I stand ready to work with my colleagues and members of Congress to ensure that all Americans, no matter where they live, can take advantage of the opportunities of a fully connected nation.”

Public Interest:

Public Knowledge, Harold Feld, Senior VP

“The AIRWAVES Act shows that when members of Congress set aside partisan differences, we can all work together to find innovative solutions to the infrastructure challenges facing our country. This bill strikes an important balance in recognizing that the success of 5G wireless will need both more exclusive use spectrum for gigabit mobile networks, and more shared spectrum for next generation gigabit Wi-Fi. In particular, we applaud Senator Gardner and Senator Hassan for proposing to set aside 10 percent of the revenue from spectrum auctions to create a fund for wireless broadband infrastructure in rural America. This focuses spending directly on needed broadband infrastructure in a competitively neutral manner, without raising taxes or user fees. We strongly support the AIRWAVES Act as the basis for moving forward on spectrum policy in Congress, and urge Senators on both sides of the aisle to support this balanced and innovative approach to providing rural broadband and wireless capacity for 5G.”

American Library Association, President, Jim Neal

“The American Library Association applauds Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) on the introduction of the AIRWAVES Act and supports their efforts to increase the amount of unlicensed spectrum available to power libraries’ Wi-Fi networks. Access to Wi-Fi is important to virtually every patron of the nearly 120,000 school, public and higher education libraries in the United States. More spectrum for library Wi-Fi means more public access to the internet for everyone from school children to entrepreneurs, job seekers and scientists. The AIRWAVES Act will mean that millions more people, especially those in rural areas, will benefit from the library programs and services increasingly essential to their and the nation's success in the digital age.”


CTIA – The Wireless Association, Kelly Cole, Senior VP of Government Affairs

“CTIA applauds Senators Gardner and Hassan for their forward thinking, bipartisan leadership in introducing the AIRWAVES Act. This legislation provides a much needed long-term plan to unlock valuable licensed spectrum as demand for wireless data and content continues to skyrocket. A predictable spectrum pipeline is vital to meet consumers’ need for new and innovative services and sustain U.S. global leadership in a fast-approaching 5G world. We thank Senators Gardner and Hassan and we look forward to swift movement on this important bill.”

ITIF – Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

“Spectrum policy should support a mix of licensing schemes to support a diversity of Internet access models, including licensed, unlicensed, and effective spectrum-sharing models. We commend Senators Gardner and Hassan for introducing the AIRWAVES Act, because the bill embraces a balanced mix of access models and helps move additional spectrum into innovators’ hands. The bill proposes that the United States repurpose spectrum for licensed and unlicensed uses and recognizes the need for additional high-, mid-, and low-band, spectrum allocated for commercial use. This approach will fuel wireless broadband expansion and provide flexibility for the diverse needs of Internet of Things applications. By putting more spectrum in the pipeline for broadband use, most notably for licensed access to the 3700 to 4200 MHz band and unlicensed access to the 6 GHz band, this bill would advance the commonsense goals of boosting innovation, expanding broadband access, and improving the spectrum-allocation process. For those reasons, the AIRWAVES Act is a welcome, bipartisan step forward.”

 ITI – Information Technology Industry Council

“As we charge full speed ahead into the fifth generation – or 5G – of wireless connectivity, it’s incredibly important for the U.S. to make spectrum available in low-, mid-, and high-band frequencies to meet the demands of consumers,” Jesaitis said. “For that reason, we applaud the introduction of the AIRWAVES Act by Sens. Gardner and Hassan. This bill requires the FCC to look at making spectrum available for licensed and unlicensed use in a number of bands, while setting aggressive timelines for FCC action to ensure US leadership as the world makes the leap to widely deploying 5G.”


“We applaud Senators Gardner and Hassan for their efforts to free up additional spectrum for unlicensed use. The introduction of the AIRWAVES Act is a great start and we look forward to working with the Committee to better meet the growing demand for wireless broadband, thus fostering innovation and giving American businesses and entrepreneurs the tools they need to continue to succeed in the internet economy.”

Wi-Fi Alliance

“Wi-Fi Alliance® welcomes the introduction of the Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum Act (AIRWAVES Act) by Senator Gardner and Senator Hassan.  Provisions of this bipartisan legislation address the underlying need for additional unlicensed spectrum. The majority of Americans rely on Wi-Fi® as the primary technology for wireless connectivity, and it is imperative to ensure that adequate spectrum is available for Wi-Fi functionality today and in the future. Wi-Fi Alliance is grateful to Senators Gardner and Hassan for recognizing the need for additional unlicensed spectrum and looks forward to progress on this bill.”

Broadcom Corporation, Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise:

“On behalf of Broadcom Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, congratulations on your introduction of the “AIRWAVES Act”. Ensuring there is a future pipeline of spectrum for commercial use is one of the most important activities policymakers can do to keep the US at the forefront of wireless innovation. Your bipartisan legislation recognizes the need for licensed and unlicensed spectrum, and promotes shared use of spectrum bands. This comprehensive approach is both critical and timely for meeting the growing demand of networks in this country.  Our companies are particularly appreciative of your effort to expedite a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at the FCC focused on designating spectrum for unlicensed use in the frequency band between 5925-7125 (“6 GHz”). This spectrum is most valuable to us as it is adjacent to current unlicensed use at 5 GHz, and therefore allows us to easily extend equipment into the 6 GHz band. While we recognize there are incumbents that currently exist in the band, we are confident our technology will prove we can coexist without interfering. We look forward to working with the FCC on realizing the full potential of 6 GHz to the unlicensed industry. Thank you again for your leadership on spectrum policy. We believe opening 6 GHz for unlicensed use is a necessary step in fostering a spectrum ecosystem that will expand existing coverage of networks and increase network capacity for new technologies. The 6 GHz band is our top priority with respect to unlicensed spectrum, and we commend your recognition of this important band in your legislation.”

Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) – President and CEO Steven K. Berry:

“I commend Senators Gardner and Hassan for introducing the bipartisan AIRWAVES Act.  Spectrum is an absolutely critical resource for competitive carriers, and requiring NTIA to identify additional spectrum frequencies for commercial use marks an important step to ensuring consumers can reap the benefits of mobile broadband services.  An auction pipeline of new licenses is key to promoting economic growth and invigorating the competitive spirit throughout the industry. Importantly, the AIRWAVES Act includes a rural spectrum funding mechanism, allocating ten percent of the proceeds from each auction for the deployment of mobile broadband in rural areas, in line with Chairman Pai’s Digital Empowerment Agenda.  I applaud Senators Gardner and Hassan for recognizing that many rural areas do not have mobile broadband services comparable to their urban counterparts, and for their focus on ensuring no rural area is left behind.  CCA supports the AIRWAVES Act and looks forward to continued work to move this legislation forward.”

 Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) – President & CEO Ed Black

“Connectivity is crucial for our economy.  To stay competitive in the global race for 5G, we need more spectrum of all types to fill these needs.  Other countries like China, Japan, South Korea, and Europe are already addressing spectrum needs for 5G, so we need to accelerate our efforts.  While much progress has been made in lower and higher bands, it’s the gap in mid-band that needs to be filled.  With the bipartisan Senate bill and the FCC’s NOI, we’re now seeing a path forward on mid-band spectrum that will be crucial to ensuring faster, more reliable networks that will be catalysts for innovation, economic growth, and jobs.”

The Wireless Internet Services Providers Association (WISPA)

“WISPA thanks Senators Gardner and Hassan for consulting with WISPA and incorporating our experience as the AIRWAVES Act was drafted,” said Jimmy Carr, CEO of All Points Broadband, and Chairman of WISPA’s Legislative Committee.  “Although there are aspects of the bill that are inconsistent with WISPA’s preferred approach, overall we believe the bill can have a positive impact on rural Americans. While WISPA believes our coalition’s proposal for the 3700-4200 MHz band will more rapidly connect rural Americans with affordable fixed broadband, we know that Senators Gardner and Hassan are deeply committed to taking substantive action that will help address the challenge of delivering broadband to underserved rural Americans,” Carr continued.  “We look forward to working with the senators as the legislation is refined, so that it can have an even greater positive effect for those rural Americans who desperately need access to affordable broadband services in their homes and businesses. We particularly appreciate Senator Gardner’s work to improve this legislation for the benefit of rural Colorado,” said Jeff Kohler, co-founder of Colorado-based Rise Broadband, America’s largest fixed-wireless ISP.  “With its rugged terrain, Colorado is a microcosm of why we need smart spectrum rules that encourage, rather than discourage, fixed wireless broadband providers.” 


"AT&T congratulates Senators Gardner and Hassan for introducing a unique bill to address the pressing need for spectrum to support next-generation 5G broadband networks.  The bill identifies the spectrum bands required to make 5G a reality and provides certainty that this spectrum will be auctioned in time to meet the 5G rollout.  The consumer and economic benefits of 5G technologies are tremendous and this legislation will enable the United States to maintain its leadership role in this space.  We look forward to working with Senators Gardner and Hassan as this bill moves through Congress."

T-Mobile, Tony Russo, VP of Federal Legislative Affairs

“Senators Gardner and Hassan should be commended on the introduction of the AIRWAVES (Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum) Act. This bill goes a long way toward guaranteeing that there will be a steady pipeline of spectrum that can be auctioned for licensed use, as well as ensuring that companies like T-Mobile can bring innovative 5G services to consumers. We want to thank the senators for all their hard work on this legislation, and we look forward to working with them as this bill moves through the legislative process.”


"The "AIRWAVES Act" shows a clear, bipartisan understanding by Congress that the nation needs real and achievable timelines to meet the continually increasing demands for spectrum from a growing number of American consumers and businesses. With new, next-gen wireless applications and services emerging daily, it also confirms that our nation's leaders recognize the importance of making a range of spectrum bands available for commercial mobile broadband. We look forward to working with Senators Gardner and Hassan and the full Congress as we collectively look for ways to meet the growing demands for spectrum that will fuel innovation and new opportunities in the wireless communications ecosystem." 

SPRINT, CEO Marcelo Claure