White House budget invests in innovation, looks to wireless for deficit reduction

The plan looks to the airwaves as a mechanism for deficit reduction, as Obama outlined in a speech last week. 

The proposal says it will bring down the deficit by $10 billion dollars by auctioning off TV airwaves. That’s because the White House says spectrum auctions can raise almost $28 billion.

Of the money raised, the White House proposes to use $10 billion to build a nationwide mobile broadband network to connect public safety agencies.

An additional $5 billion will serve as a one-time investment in the Federal Communications Commission’s fund for telecom subsidies. The investment is supposed to go toward spreading mobile broadband to 98 percent of the population, funding networks in rural areas.

“We’ve got to think about ‘what’s the next big thing’ to make sure we’re at the forefront just like we were in the last century,” Obama said in a speech about mobile broadband in Michigan last week.

Critics are already questioning whether the wireless plan can accomplish its sizable deficit-reduction target, since estimates for the money raised in spectrum auctions can vary widely.

Plus, new laws are needed before the FCC can move on incentive spectrum auctions or the public safety network proposed by the White House.


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