Lawmakers introduce bipartisan bill to allow for increased use of internet-connected devices

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Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) on Thursday introduced legislation intended to allow for growth of the number of internet-connected devices and the expansion of spectrum to meet the expected increased demand. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) Readiness Act would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to collect data on the growth of internet-connected devices that depend on 5G networks in order to quantify the amount of spectrum needed to support the devices. 

The legislation was introduced as internet-connected devices continue to multiply, including everything from mobile phones to laptops to internet-connected kitchen appliances, with the amount of devices only expected to continue to increase in coming years. 

DelBene and Katko previously introduced the legislation in 2019, but it did not advance. The lawmakers pointed to the need to prepare immediately for burden that internet-connected devices will increasingly place on spectrum capacity. 

“The explosion in use of IoT devices by families and businesses means we need to ensure we have enough spectrum available to accommodate this growing technology,” DelBene said Thursday in a statement. “I believe it is time for the FCC to include Congress in the spectrum planning conversation. The United States can’t afford to wait around while other countries are implementing IoT readiness plans. The time for action is now.”

DelBene and Katko serve as co-chairs of the Internet of Things Caucus, and Katko just took over as ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, with jurisdiction over a range of cybersecurity issues.  

“American consumers are growing increasingly connected to the internet through innovative devices including security systems, home appliances, and vehicles,” Katko said in a separate statement. “Our nation’s networks must be prepared to handle advanced levels of usage as household connectivity demand expands.”

Congress recently took action to security internet-connected devices last year when both chambers unanimously approved the IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act, which was subsequently signed into law by former President Trump in December. 

The bipartisan bill requires that all internet-connected devices purchased by the federal government be in compliance with minimum security standards issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It also requires groups providing devices to the federal government to notify agencies if the device has a vulnerability that could leave the government open to cyberattacks.

Tags Donald Trump Internet of Things IOT John Katko Suzan DelBene
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