Coalition warns against sale of ‘white spaces’ spectrum

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"Super Wi-Fi," the next generation of long-distance wireless Internet access, would rely on unlicensed television spectrum. Its Internet signals would be able to travel for miles and through brick walls.

The groups argued that Super Wi-Fi would give the United States a technological edge over other countries.

"If unlicensed spectrum in the TV band is eliminated, the United States will not for the foreseeable future be able to recover the economic opportunity and will likely fall behind the rest of the world," the groups warned.

Auctioning the spectrum for unlicensed use would be "unwise and unworkable," they argued. They said tech companies would not be able to justify paying money at an auction if the spectrum is then available for other businesses to use.

Spectrum, the airwaves that technologies use to transmit signals, is extremely valuable, and spectrum auctions could raise billions of dollars to help the government pay down its deficit.  

Four members of the supercommittee urged President Obama on Friday to reallocate some federal government spectrum for commercial use. They also voiced their support for encouraging television broadcasters to put spectrum up for auction. The letter did not mention unlicensed spectrum.

Obama included incentive auctions of broadcasters' spectrum in his American Jobs Act.