Just like his father and President Bill Clinton before him, President George W. Bush proposes in his budget charging broadcasters $200 million a year in spectrum-squatting fees starting in 2002.
The proposal has often been made in past administrations and never gets far in Congress, but the idea remains just the same. In the same two-line item, the Office of Management and Budget also suggests postponing auctions of channels 60-69 and other analog spectrum from September 2001 until 2004.
The FCC already has delayed those auctions four times, but the President's budget appears to suggest delaying them further, until the U.S. Treasury can get full market value for it, one source says. OMB estimates that with auctions starting in 2004 and running through 2006, the Treasury will reap $7.5 billion.
- Paige Albiniak