[Senate Report 117-79]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

117th Congress       }                            {           Report
 2d Session          }                            {            117-79




                              R E P O R T

                                 of the



               February 15, 2022.--Ordered to be printed
29-010				WASHINGTON : 2022               		
                    one hundred seventeenth congress
                             second session

                   MARIA CANTWELL, Washington, Chair
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota             ROGER WICKER, Mississippi
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut      JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii                 ROY BLUNT, Missouri
EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts      TED CRUZ, Texas
GARY C. PETERS, Michigan             DEB FISCHER, Nebraska
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin             JERRY MORAN, Kansas
TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois            DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska
JON TESTER, Montana                  MARSHA BLACKBURN, Tennessee
KYRSTEN SINEMA, Arizona              TODD C. YOUNG, Indiana
JACKY ROSEN, Nevada                  MIKE LEE, Utah
BEN RAY LUJAN, New Mexico            RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin

RAPHAEL WARNOCK, Georgia             RICK SCOTT, Florida
                                     CYNTHIA LUMMIS, Wyoming
                 Melissa Porter, Acting Staff Director
                  John Keast, Minority Staff Director

117th Congress       }                            {           Report
 2d Session          }                            {            117-79




               February 15, 2022.--Ordered to be printed


      Ms. Cantwell, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 4803) in the 116th Congress to 
make the 3450-3550 MHz spectrum band available for non-Federal 
use, having considered the same, ordered to be reported 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommended that the 
bill do pass. S. 4803 was not reported, but the bill passed as 
a provision in H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 
    \1\Public Law 116-260.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    S. 4803, the Beat China by Harnessing Important, National 
Airwaves for 5G Act of 2020, requires the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) to make available 
some or all of the spectrum between the frequencies of 3450-
3550 MHz for non-Federal use no later than December 31, 2021.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEEDS

    As the leader in 4G, the United States reaped the benefits 
of a $100 billion increase in national gross domestic product 
(GDP), as well as the booming app ecosystem that resulted.\2\ 
5G is expected to have an even greater impact on innovation and 
investment, particularly in adjacent sectors like healthcare, 
transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing. Experts 
estimate that 5G could contribute as much as $275 billion in 
new investment and millions of new jobs, and the sooner the 
United States reaches wide-scale deployment, the more 
significant the impact.\3\
    \2\Recon Analytics, How America's 4G Leadership Propelled the U.S. 
Economy (2018), p. 1 (https://api.ctia.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/
    \3\David Abecassis, Chris Nickerson, and Janette Stewart, Final 
Report for CTIA: Global Race to 5G-Spectrum and Infrastructure Plans 
and Priorities (London: Analysys Mason Ltd., 
2018), p. 1-2 (https://api.ctia.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/
    Both industry and government stakeholders in the United 
States have taken steps to promote the rapid development, 
deployment, and adoption of 5G networks. Congress and the FCC 
have focused on spectrum availability, infrastructure 
deployment, and supply chain security in order to create a 
favorable environment for wireless carriers to invest in 5G 
networks. In recent years, the FCC has made available high-, 
mid-, and low-band spectrum, both licensed and unlicensed, 
through multiple auctions of frequencies including 3550-3650 
MHz, 28 GHz, and 3.7-4.2 GHz.\4\
    \4\Federal Communications Commission, ``America's 5G Future,'' 
accessed February 8, 2021 (https://www.fcc.gov/5G).
    U.S. wireless carriers, though, continue to suggest that 
Congress and the FCC identify additional mid-band spectrum that 
can be made available for 5G wireless operations. Mid-band 
spectrum is believed by the wireless industry and other experts 
to be a critical component of a successful 5G strategy--these 
frequencies have both significant capacity, allowing for the 
transmission of large amounts of data, as well as coverage 
capability.\5\ The 2018 MOBILE NOW Act directed the FCC to work 
with the National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration (NTIA) to determine whether wireless service 
providers and Federal incumbents could effectively share 
spectrum in the 3100 to 3550 MHz band.\6\ As part of this 
effort, in January 2020, NTIA released a technical analysis 
that concluded that there was ``a clear possibility'' for 
spectrum sharing that would protect Federal incumbents in the 
3450 to 3550 MHz band.\7\ In a related July 2020 report to 
Congress, NTIA further concluded that the 3450 to 3550 MHz band 
is ``a good candidate for potential spectrum sharing, including 
the commercial power levels sought by the wireless 
    \5\Stein Gudbjorgsrud, Mid-band Spectrum Is Important for 5G 
Networks (Oslo: Analysys Mason, 2020) (https://www.analysysmason.com/
    \6\Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Public Law 115-141 
(2018), Sec.  605 (https://www.congress.gov/115/plaws/publ141/PLAW-
    \7\U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and 
Information Administration, Technical Feasibility of Sharing Federal 
Spectrum with Future Commercial Operations in the 3450-3550 MHz Band, 
NTIA Technical Report 20-546 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of 
Commerce, 2020) (https://www.its.bldrdoc.gov/publications/download/TR-
    \8\U.S. Department of Commerce, Feasibility of Commercial Wireless 
Services Sharing with Federal Operations in the 3100-3550 MHz Band 
(Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, 2020) (https://
    In August 2020, the White House and the Department of 
Defense (DOD)--a major user of the 3450 to 3550 MHz band--
announced an agreement to make available the 3450 to 3550 MHz 
band for commercial 5G deployment.\9\ This band is currently 
utilized for DOD operations including missile defense, 
electronic warfare, air defense, and air traffic control.\10\ 
Under the agreement reached, DOD operations will continue while 
private sector use will be enabled through spectrum sharing 
    \9\U.S. Department of Defense, ``White House and DOD Announce 
Additional Mid-Band Spectrum Available for 5G by the End of the 
Summer,'' release, August 10, 2020 (https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/
    \10\U.S. Department of Defense, ``AMBIT Gambit Pays Off, Advances 
U.S. 5G Efforts,'' by C. Todd Lopez, DOD News, August 10, 2020 (https:/
    The August 2020 agreement, however, is not self-executing. 
The FCC has commenced a proceeding to auction off the spectrum 
for 5G use in 2021,\11\ but that proceeding remains pending. S. 
4803 codifies this pending auction to ensure that some or all 
of the 3450 to 3550 MHz band is made available for commercial 
wireless operations. The legislation also sets a timeline for 
that auction, directing that it must commence by the end of 
December 2021.
    \11\Federal Communications Commission, Facilitating Shared Use in 
the 3100-3550 MHz Band, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking, WT Docket No. 19-348 (rel. October 2, 2020) (https://

                         SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS

    The legislation does the following:
   Requires the President, working through the 
        Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and 
        Information, to withdraw or modify the assignments in 
        the 3450 to 3550 MHz band as needed to facilitate the 
        auction of that band and to notify the Commission 
        within 30 days that such withdrawal or notification is 
   Requires the Commission to begin an auction to grant 
        new licenses for use of the band no later than December 
        31, 2021.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 4803 was introduced in the 116th Congress on October 19, 
2020, by Senator Wicker (for himself and Senator Thune) and was 
referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation of the Senate. Senator Scott was an additional 
cosponsor. On November 18, 2020, the Committee met in open 
Executive Session and, by voice vote, ordered S. 4803 reported 
favorably without amendment. S. 4803 was not reported, but the 
bill passed as a provision in H.R. 133, the Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, 2021.\12\
    \12\Public Law 116-260.
    Similar legislation, H.R. 8545, was introduced in the 116th 
Congress on October 6, 2020, by Representative Greg Walden (for 
himself and Representatives Robert E. Latta and Brett Guthrie) 
and was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the 
House of Representatives. Representatives Cathy McMorris 
Rodgers, Debbie Lesko, and Pete Olson were additional 

                            ESTIMATED COSTS

    In compliance with subsection (a)(3) of paragraph 11 of 
rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee 
states that, in its opinion, it was necessary to dispense with 
the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of that subsection 
in order to expedite the business of the Senate.


    Because the legislation does not create any new programs, 
it has no additional regulatory impact, and has no additional 
reporting requirements. The legislation has no further effect 
on the number or types of individuals and businesses regulated, 
the economic impact of such regulation, the personal privacy of 
affected individuals, or the paperwork required from such 
individuals and businesses.


    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill would have met the definition 
of congressionally directed spending items under the rule.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    This section provides that the Act may be cited as the 
``Beat China by Harnessing Important, National Airwaves for 5G 
Act of 2020'' or the ``Beat CHINA for 5G Act of 2020''.

Section 2. Reallocation and auction of 3450-3550 MHz spectrum band

    Subsection (a) of section 2 defines the terms 
``Commission'' as the Federal Communications Commission, and 
``covered band'' as the band of spectrum between 3450 MHz and 
3550 MHz, inclusive of the top and bottom of that band.
    Subsection (b) of section 2 requires the President, acting 
through the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications 
and Information, to begin the process of withdrawing or 
modifying the assignments to Federal users within the covered 
band as necessary for the reallocation and auction of the 
covered band within 180 days. The Assistant Secretary is 
required to notify the Commission not later than 30 days after 
it has completed this process.
    Subsection (c) of section 2 directs the Commission to 
revise the non-Federal spectrum allocation for the covered band 
to allow flexible use services and, not later than December 31, 
2021, begin the auction of new initial licenses for use of the 
covered band, subject to flexible use service rules. 
Additionally, this subsection exempts the Commission from 
complying with certain auction notification requirements and 
NTIA from supplying certain cost estimates ahead of the auction 
required by the bill. It also clarifies that the Commission 
must still comply with the statutory requirement that it may 
conclude an auction of Federal frequencies only if the auction 
raises cash proceeds exceeding 110 percent of Federal 
relocation costs.
    The Committee understands that a limited number of 
secondary licenses used for non-Federal radiolocation 
operations in the 3300 to 3550 MHz band have been modified to 
authorize such continued use in the 2900 to 3000 MHz band. 
These radiolocation operations provide important services 
relied on by millions of Americans, including life-saving 
Doppler weather radar systems in some of the Nation's largest 
population centers. The Committee understands that five such 
weather radar systems have been identified through the 
Commission's proceedings and believes that the Commission 
should provide for reimbursement of relocation costs of these 
radiolocation operations, with money remaining after primary 
licensees have been fully reimbursed for their relocation 
costs. Reimbursement of these relocations will ensure that 
these important services may continue to serve the public 
interest and not be disrupted during relocation to new spectrum 
assignments. These licenses, while secondary, have in practice 
operated for many years as though they were primary, without 
fear of interference, and substantial investments have been 
made by the license holders based upon this primary-like 
status. It is not the intent of the Committee to endorse a 
general precedent for reimbursing secondary license holders for 
costs associated with relocations required by Commission 
action, and the Committee expects that any such future 
considerations by the Commission regarding such reimbursements 
be based on the facts of such particular cases and determined 
consistent with the public interest.
    The Committee also understands that certain low power 
testing essential to air safety and mandated by the Federal 
Aviation Administration must be conducted using the spectrum 
identified for auction in S. 4803. The Committee intends for 
the FCC to allow such testing to continue as it did prior to 
auction. The Committee believes that aircraft manufacturers and 
auction winners should coordinate all such testing activity in 
good faith to allow such testing to occur while preventing 
harmful interference to auction winners' wireless operations in 
this band.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the 
bill would make no change to existing law.