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Wireless industry groups this week praised the introduction of legislation in the U.S. House to require additional federal spectrum auctions.

Reps. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., and Mike Doyle, D-Pa., on Wednesday announced the AIRWAVES Act, which Lance argued would bring the country one step closer to providing all consumers with "faster speed, better reliability and affordable options."

The bill is the House companion to legislation introduced in the Senate last summer by Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. It would require the FCC to conduct spectrum auctions granting new broadcast licenses in each of the next three calendar years. Ten percent of the proceeds would be directed toward wireless infrastructure projects in rural areas.

In addition, the FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration would be required to identify frequencies for commercial licensed and unlicensed use, and the FCC would study how unlicensed spectrum could bolster rural healthcare, distance learning and agricultural innovations.

"This legislation provides a vital long-term plan to free up valuable licensed spectrum as demand for wireless data and content continues to surge," said Kelly Cole, CTIA's SVP for Government Affairs. "An open spectrum pipeline is critical to meet consumers’ need for new and innovative services and maintain America’s lead in the global race to 5G."

Competitive Carriers Associated President and CEO Steven Berry lauded the bill's inclusion of the 24 GHz and 47 GHz bands, as well as "a rural buildout funding mechanism to ensure rural areas are not left behind."

"I applaud the members for understanding that many rural locations do not have mobile broadband services comparable to their urban counterparts and look forward to continued work to move this legislation forward," Berry said.

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