New To The Market: Public Airwaves March 1st, 2012
Congress will soon be voting on whether or not the Federal Government is authorized to sell public airwaves to private companies in order to gain some much needed revenue. The sale of public airwaves would be good news for those of you with smart phones and tablets. Due to an overwhelming increase in the amount of data usage, cities have been unable to provide fast downloads and connections. It is rare for the federal government to auction off public property to benefit private corporations but in this instance it may be a win-win type situation.
The sale of these public airwaves is estimated to produce greater than $25 billion. It will contribute to President Obama’s goal of broadband expansion and will create a nationwide network which would allow emergency workers including police, fire and other emergency responders to communicate with each other directly. Such a network has been desired since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Another benefit of this bill is the unprecedented political cooperation that brought it to the forefront. Both Republicans and Democrats support this piece of legislation which is good for congressional morale.
The auctions are at least one year away, possibly even two but the programs the sale of these airwaves will be funding will be covered immediately. Moreover consumers of public airwaves won’t be hit with a raise in fees because the airwaves would be adding new spectrum as opposed to making expensive changes to the existing one.
If this deal passes the payroll tax exemption will be extended through the end of 2012 saving workers quite a bit of money. It will also prevent a reimbursement cut for doctors who accept Medicare. Extra funding means more governmental financial support of the economy.
While there has been an impressive amount of cooperation in drafting this legislation there is some disagreement as to the extent of it’s positive effect on the US economy. Some Democrats argue that it will help to create new jobs while some more skeptical Republicans say that it’s merely just another bailout plan. Regardless most agree that the sale of public airwaves would be at least in some part beneficial to the US economy and may have other benefits such as faster broadband speeds and easier ways of communication.
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