Obama budget plan sees $6.4 bln boost from spectrum

on February 01 2010 2:00 PM

President Barack Obama estimated on Monday that the Federal Communications Commission could get a $6.4 billion boost in the next 10 years from the use of airwaves.

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking to extend broadband technologies to all Americans and boost adoption in urban areas.

The use of smart phones and other advanced mobile devices has increased the demand for airwaves among wireless carriers; and in anticipation of a strain on the airwaves, the agency and lawmakers plan to take inventory of how efficiently they are being used.

That could require the FCC to auction airwaves, also known as spectrum; but it could take several years for government officials to locate spectrum to be auctioned off to companies including AT&T Inc, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp and T-Mobile.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc. T-Mobile is the U.S. unit of Deutsche Telekom AG.

In his fiscal 2011 budget proposal, Obama also proposed extending indefinitely the FCC's authority to auction spectrum licenses, which expires Sept. 30, 2012.

The government could receive an estimated $1.6 billion from auctioned licensed spectrum through 2020, according to the budget proposal, which said the value of the spectrum could be higher.

This proposal supports the administration's efforts to foster new wireless broadband technologies by making new spectrum available, the Obama budget proposal stated.

The proposal also seeks to give the FCC new authority to establish user fees on unauctioned spectrum that could generate another $4.8 billion. The fees would be phased in over time and determined by the agency's rulemaking process

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