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President Barack Obama has inserted authorization for his long desired wireless spectrum auction into American Jobs Act.  (Source: Newscom)

The auction would allow TV broadcasters to sell unused spectrum to wireless carriers, splitting the profits with the government. Wireless carriers could then use the spectrum to speed up smart phone connections.  (Source: Backpack Tactics)

The government would use its earnings to create an emergency broadcast Wi-Fi network to be used by firefighters and police during emergencies.  (Source: Corbis)
Spectrum sale would eventually boost 4G speeds and coverage, fund a national emergency Wi-Fi network

Sneaky, sneaky -- remember U.S. President Barack Obama's big American Jobs Act, which he was plugging before the NFL season opener last Thursday?  Well, the proposed legislation was released Monday and it included a little something extra -- proposed authorization for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to hold a special wireless spectrum auction, something President Obama has long been pushing.

Telecommunications companies like Verizon Communications Inc. (
VZ), AT&T, Inc. (T), and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) have been pushing for this auction for a long time.  They warn that they're running out of spectrum to deploy faster 4G wireless connections.  Meanwhile, they point out that many TV broadcasters are sitting on large unused chunks of spectrum.

The auction would likely be held sometime early next year and would be an incentive-based auction.  TV broadcasters would not be required to participate, but those who do would split the profits of sales of their unused spectrum with the government.

A handful of TV broadcasters are excited about the potential revenue from the option.  But a noisy contingent has protested the auction.  They claim that the FCC has not sufficiently considered interference that use of the spectrum for wireless devices might cause.  Thus they argue that their fellow broadcasters 
should not be allowed to sell their spectrum, and the auction should be scrapped.

The proposed spectrum auction has largely stalled thus far due to these protests.  Now it may finally advance.

If the auction is authorized, it would use $6.5B USD raised from the auction to 
fund the national Wi-Fi emergency broadcast network.  Firefighters, police, and other first responders would utilize the network.

The network was first proposed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 after emergency responders struggled to communicate with each other in the chaotic aftermath.  In early 2009, at the start of Obama's presidency an auction looked to create a public/private partnership to fund the network.  However, the auction failed due to lack of interest.

If the new plan succeeds, a 10 MHz block of the 700 MHz band -- the so-called "D-Block – would be applied to building the new network.  The majority of funding would go towards building physical wireless networking infrastructure into most major U.S. cities and securing the resulting network.

In his letter to Congress, Obama promotes the act, but doesn't spend much time specifically promoting the auction provision.  He writes:

To create jobs, I am submitting the American Jobs Act of 2011 -- nearly all of which is made up of the kinds of proposals supported by both Republicans and Democrats, and that the Congress should pass right away to get the economy moving now. The purpose of the American Jobs Act of 2011 is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans.

However, he faces resistance in the House and Senate from his Republican rivals. Representative Eric Cantor, the Republican party House Majority Leader, writes:

What Washington needs and what the American people need is for us to find some agreement and there are plenty of things we can agree on. For instance, on the need for infrastructure spending, we believe that states have monies right now, but Washington has tied up their ability to use those monies. We want to straighten out the system of how money is spent before we start spending more.

We don't support the idea of creating a Fannie and Freddie for roads and bridges in an infrastructure bank. We believe that you can facilitate a better flow of funds to construction projects by fixing the current system. There's plenty for us to work on together. Instead of trying to accentuate where differences are, because good people can disagree, let's try to produce results so the middle class can get back to work in this country.

Like the President, most Republican rivals haven't directly commented on the auction and emergency network deployment plans (though Rep. Cantor's comment seems to allude to the latter deployment).

Thus the fate of President Obama's latest effort to push through the incentive-auction of unused TV spectrum largely rests on his ability to sell the Jobs Act as a whole.



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RE: Should Be Separate
By bah12 on 9/15/2011 12:52:08 PM , Rating: 2
And your point is. Mine is the rate makes no difference, and I can personally attest that person 2 is far more likely to spend $100 in groceries. Wealthy people spend more, as they have more to spend.

Now I wouldn't use groceries as an example as I do think there should be an exempt necessities category (much like today). Also a minimum poverty line would have exemptions too.

Of course you and I both know this is all moot, because tax is never really the issue. Spending is! If the government would shore up their wasteful spending, we would have a significantly lower tax budget.


RE: Should Be Separate
By johnsmith9875 on 9/16/2011 12:56:35 PM , Rating: 1
I've never seen a rich person suffer in a bad economy.

The problem is you mainly...

Americans refuse to believe they're poor, they have this idea that their financial status is temporary on their way to riches, so they don't even want to be associated with any laws that might help the poor. Instead they vote for things that benefit the wealthy, because after all....someday....they will be rich too!!!

Pathetic.


RE: Should Be Separate
By bigdawg1988 on 9/16/2011 1:04:15 PM , Rating: 2
Rich people don't spend nearly as much as you think they do. Sure, some do (rappers, athletes), but a lot of them sit on their money and invest it, which keeps them rich. There is no way a sales tax would work. You think Bill Gates spends a great portion of the $50B he has?

Besides, they'd probably just lease their yachts and cars (through a foreign-based GE Capital subsidiary no less) and pay no taxes on it. Rich people spend more on groceries, but there are far less of them. They'd have to eat 50 times the groceries as a poor person, and you can only eat so much caviar....


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