Press Releases

DelBene Introduces ‘Internet of Things’ Legislation to Prepare U.S. for Future Use of Smart Devices

Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) introduced the Internet of Things (IoT) Readiness Act, which would prepare the U.S. for the continued growth of ‘smart devices’ and technology that connects to 5G networks.

IoT devices, ranging from fitness watches to traffic cameras, require significant 5G spectrum capacity to share data such as time, location, and temperature. 5G spectrum is a finite resource and if the available capacity cannot accommodate all the devices in the same vicinity, the signals will interfere with each other and cause them to fail.

The IoT Readiness Act directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to collect and provide Congress with the data needed to be prepared for the continued growth of this technology and its connectivity needs.

For example, during the introduction of smartphones, the number of devices that could access the internet increased dramatically. Cellular networks became overwhelmed, and the FCC had to go through the lengthy and burdensome process of reallocating spectrum. Now, IoT devices are facing the same problem.

“IoT and smart devices are growing in popularity in our homes and businesses to improve safety, efficiency, and convenience but that would grind to a halt if we do not have enough 5G spectrum available to handle the demands of this growing technology. This legislation would require the FCC to assess current spectrum supply and determine how much is necessary to meet the demands of IoT growth in the future,” said DelBene. “The United States can’t afford to wait around while other countries are implementing IoT readiness plans. The time for action is now.”


  • In 2015, a family of four had an average of 10 IoT devices connected to the internet, including televisions, thermostats, and security cameras. The number of active IoT devices in the U.S. is expected to grow from 9.9 billion in 2019 to 21.5 billion by 2025.
  • In 2014, an FCC advisory panel recommended the FCC implement a plan that would ensure adequate spectrum is available and monitor the growth of IoT devices. FCC officials stated that when it comes to tracking spectrum demand that it “does not focus on specific devices,” rather the FCC will issue new spectrum when it is needed. Without adequate data, we risk not having access to enough spectrum to support the growth of IoT devices.
  • Other countries with similar IoT growth to the U.S. are implementing proactive spectrum plans that focus on how to manage increased device usage. In 2019, South Korea set out to double its available spectrum by 2026 to support future innovations such as smart homes, smart factories, smart cities, and unmanned vehicles. France and the Netherlands are requiring there be enough spectrum available for the anticipated increase in smart city IoT device applications that operate solely on unlicensed spectrum.
  • DelBene is the founder and chair of the Internet of Things Caucus.

The text of the Internet of Things Readiness Act can be found here.