Hot Sheet

Sen. Cory Gardner introduces the Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Electromagnetic Spectrum Act (Clear enough?)

Author: Dan Njegomir - August 1, 2017 - Updated: August 1, 2017

Yes, this actually pertains to Sen. Cory Gardner’s latest legislation. You can see that, can’t you? (

Just call it AIRWAVES, for short. And thank goodness for acronyms. More on this tongue twister of a tech initiative in a moment.

But first, consider this: No sooner does a guy like Gardner — besieged for months by Democratic activists over his role in the forever-pending repeal of Obamacare — issue a press release like today’s on some pretty obscure legislation, than he likely will stand accused of trying to change the subject. And no sooner does a news medium like ours pay it any heed, than it’ll probably be accused of providing cover. We’re braced for the familiar push-back.

Here’s our take: If Gardner goes to this much trouble just to change the subject, he earns points for the extra effort to say nothing of the creativity. Besides, what if there’s actually some substance to the legislation?

So, now, to the bill — and we’re relying heavily here on the details posted by Gardner’s press shop because, yikes, this stuff is a brain bender for us media dullards: The bipartisan legislation, introduced with New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, “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.”

Which we think means the bill should help provide more room on the airwaves for cell phones and other stuff. Or, as the Gardner press shop lays it out:

Spectrum is the invisible network of airwaves over which signals and data travel. Cell phones, Wi-Fi networks, satellites, television, and more all rely on readily available spectrum to operate, but it is a finite resource. Gardner and Hassan’s legislation aims to make more efficient use of spectrum…

The senators, quoted by Gardner’s office, elaborate:

“So many of the wireless services we depend on – from telehealth to wireless phone service to Wi-Fi – require the use of spectrum, which is a finite resource,” said Hassan. “The bipartisan AIRWAVES Act will help ensure that there is an adequate supply of spectrum for licensed and unlicensed use, which in turn will enhance wireless services to our people, stimulate our economy, and spur innovation. …”

…“The AIRWAVES Act is bipartisan, commonsense legislation that frees up more spectrum for commercial licensed and unlicensed users and will help bridge the divide between urban and rural Colorado,” said Gardner. “This legislation offers innovative ways to avoid a spectrum crunch, pave the way for 5G service, and provide critical resources to rural America to continue rural buildout in unserved and underserved areas throughout Colorado and the country.”

Don’t worry; there will not be quiz.


Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.


  • Scott Weiser

    August 1, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    To “free up” spectrum for new users it has to be “taken away” from other users because, as is noted, there is a finite amount of radio frequency spectrum.

    What I want to know is just who is going to get the shaft in this REALLOCATION of radio spectrum?

    The last time the FCC did something like this they “narrowbanded” a lot of radio spectrum, which made billions of dollars of “wideband” radio equipment worthless, which meant people had to buy new radio equipment in order to meet the new bandwidth standards.

    Never trust the feds when they use the word “free” in any context whatsoever, because there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, particularly where the feds are concerned…ever.

    Hold on to your wallets folks, until we find out who’s getting the shaft.

  • Scott Weiser

    August 1, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Also, your skeptic meter should peg when the word “commonsense” (sic) is used by a politician. It’s rarely common and it’s never sensible.

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