On April 27, the US Senate Commerce Committee approved the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act (DIGIT Act) with the intent to help the United States capitalize on potential economic opportunities and benefits that growing the Internet of Things (IoT) can offer.

The DIGIT Act would require the US Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to convene a working group comprising governmental stakeholders and discretionary nongovernmental representatives to provide recommendations to the US Congress on how to appropriately plan for and encourage the proliferation of the IoT in the United States. The working group would, among other things, assess the legal and regulatory landscape that could inhibit the IoT and consider policies and programs that encourage coordination among federal agencies that have jurisdiction over the IoT.

In making its recommendations, the working group would also be required to consult with nongovernmental stakeholders, including information and communications technology business leaders, as well as experts in industrial sectors such as agriculture and healthcare. The DIGIT Act would also establish a steering committee appointed by the Secretary to advise the working group.

Additionally, the DIGIT Act would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in consultation with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, to issue a notice of inquiry that seeks public comment on the current and future spectrum needs of the IoT. The comments would address

  • whether adequate spectrum is available to support the IoT,
  • what regulatory barriers may exist to block the needed spectrum, and
  • the potential role of licensed and unlicensed spectrum in the IoT’s growth.

The report would be due to the US Congress within one year of the DIGIT Act’s enactment.

The bill will next move to the Senate floor. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.