Washington

White House Proposes Spectrum User Fees...Again

Says they would be spectrum management tool as well as revenue raiser 4/10/2013 02:24:51 PM Eastern

The White House released its 2014 budget
Wednesday and once again it proposes a spectrum user fee to promote
"efficient" use of the spectrum.

The
budget cites the incentive auctions, saying they will raise nearly $17 billion
for deficit reduction, and to build on that, it proposes "to authorize use
of a spectrum license user fee for licenses not allocated via auctions, to
promote efficient utilization of spectrum."

The
White House says that will raise another nearly $5 billion over 10 years.

Broadcasters
have seen it before.

"Consistent
with our position on previous proposed White House budgets, NAB will strongly oppose
spectrum fees that imperil the financial underpinnings of local television and
the tens of millions of viewers that we serve," NAB said in a statement
Wednesday. A similar fee has been proposed for the past several years, but
Congress has disposed of it before passing the budget.

Essentially
OMB proposes the fee and is deferring to the FCC on how best to apply it
"if" it is decided it is needed, an FCC official told B&C about a
previous incarnation of the fee. Broadcasters are not the only ones who could
be subject to the fee, which could be applied to fixed satellite,
point-to-point microwaves services and even taxi licenses.

The
budget also allocates $8 million to monitor federal spectrum use with an eye
toward repurposing that through auction.

The
following is the budget language on the fee:

"The
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 enacted Administration
proposals to promote greater wireless broadband deployment by auctioning
spectrum and then investing over $7 billion of these proceeds in building a
nationwide broadband network for first responders. In total, these actions are
expected to contribute nearly $17 billion to deficit reduction over the next 10
years.

"The
Budget builds on this effort by proposing to authorize use of a spectrum
license user fee for licenses not allocated via auctions, to promote efficient
utilization of spectrum. This fee will raise nearly $5 billion over the next 10
years."

 

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