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What is the Ray Baum's Act?


Ray Baum was a politician and lawyer who was born in Oregon in 1955, and passed on in 2018. During his career, Baum served as an Oregon legislator and top congressional aide, as well as a public utility commissioner. Baum worked with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in telecommunications.

While the Ray Baum’s Act is associated with him by namesake, it is also based on the acronym of the title “Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act.” Learn more about the history and purpose of this act, as well as the interesting provisions that this act entails.

History of Ray Baum’s Act

Ray Baum’s Act of 2018 was introduced to the House of Representatives on February 8, 2018, by a Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN). The bill was passed by the 115th Congress after its introduction to the Senate on March 7, 2018. At this time, the bill was “read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation,” according to Congress.gov. On this day, the bill passed the Senate and amended the Communications Act of 1934 under the umbrella of the FCC.

Purpose of the Act

The Ray Baum’s Act is also known by the long name as “Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act of 2018.” The act has seven sections of provisions and applications. These include:

  • FCC Reauthorizationquick-ps-qqhD8avcY7k-unsplash
  • Application of Antideficiency Act
  • Securing Access to Networks in Disasters
  • FCC Consolidated Reporting
  • Additional Provisions
  • Viewer Protections
  • Mobile Now

About Ray Baum’s Act Applications

Title I of FCC Reauthorization covers authorization of appropriations and application along with regulatory fees. The Application Act of Antideficiency Act to Universal Service Program simply extended its date of service to December 31, 2019 from the same date a year prior. For Securing Access to Networks in Disasters, the Commission is required to complete a study on network resiliency to take no more than 36 months.

The goal is to conduct “a study on the public safety benefits and technical feasibility and cost of” WiFi access points for 911 services. Title IV requires the Commission to conduct a report of the communications marketplace to access competition, deployment and small businesses. This competition and deployment includes “voice, video, audio and data services,” according to the act. Additional Provisions in Title V cover something interesting.

Spoofing Prevention and Other Provisions

Section 503 is titled Spoofing Prevention, and this area covers “expanding and clarifying prohibition on misleading or inaccurate caller identification information.” The new Act amends the Communications Act of 1934 to include voice services and text messaging, as well as whether a person is in the US or outside of the border.

The Ray Baum’s Act also provides a plan for the development of consumer education materials to help combat fraudulent use of caller ID information. Another study that is being conducted as a result of the Ray Baum’s Act is “how the National Telecommunications and Information Administration can best coordinate the interagency process following cybersecurity incidents.”

In one of the last provisions, Section 715, the Ray Baum’s Act provides the Spectrum Challenge Prize. This prize is awarded up to $5 million for the “development and commercialization of technology that improves spectrum efficiency and is capable of cost-effective deployment.” This prize money is available through grant, contract, or cooperative agreement to any nonprofit or for profit that enters this contest.

Additional Information About Telecommunications

To learn more about the Ray Baum’s Act and other legislation that affects telecommunications, including 911 systems, keep checking out our blog posts here at Montgomery County Emergency Communication District.