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Ajit Pai tweets praise for House passage of 5G support bill

The Ray Baum Act reauthorizes the FCC and encourages deployment of next-generation wireless services in the US.

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The House of Representatives has passed the Ray Baum Act, a bill that supports development of next-generation wireless services in the US.

Kelly Nelson/CNET

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai took to Twitter on Tuesday to praise the House of Representatives for passing the Ray Baum Act, a bill that supports development of next-generation wireless services in the US.

The bill, named in honor of the late Energy & Commerce staff director who died last month, is a bipartisan agreement to reauthorize the FCC and boost deployment of 5G networks in the US. It also includes a fix for a technicality that kept the FCC from depositing upfront payments from spectrum bidders directly with the US Treasury.

Pai called the vote "a major legislative accomplishment" in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.

The House vote comes as carriers talk up the benefits of 5G, the next-generation wireless technology that promises to be significantly faster and more responsive than anything before it. In some cases it can be life-changing, such as its potential application in self-driving cars, telemedicine and the trend of connected devices called the internet of things.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has promised to build the first nationwide 5G network by early 2019, though Sprint customers won't be able to access 5G till the service launches next year. T-Mobile has said it would deploy 5G in 30 cities this year but won't launch the service until 2019 because 5G phones aren't ready.

AT&T has said it will have mobile 5G available in a dozen markets, including Atlanta and Dallas, later this year. The company is also deploying 5G as a fixed service intended to replace your home internet connection, starting with Sacramento, California.

The legislation still needs approval by the Senate before it reaches President Donald Trump's desk.

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