By Brendan Sasso - 02/17/12 01:18 AM EST
The legislation would authorize the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to auction off television airwave licenses, splitting some of the revenue with the stations that choose to participate. The airwaves, known as spectrum, are worth billions of dollars to wireless carriers, which are struggling to meet the growing data demands of smartphones and tablet computers.
The bill would also set aside some airwaves to create a nationwide wireless broadband network for first-responders.
In total, the spectrum provisions would raise an estimated $15 billion to offset the cost of extending unemployment benefits.