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Obama Administration Makes Freeing Up Spectrum Part Of Budget

The new Obama administration budget makes clear that one of the reasons it wants to extend the FCC's authority to auction spectrum "indefinitely" is because it is expected to find new spectrum to sell to wireless broadband carriers.

The 2011 budget says the National Telecommunications & Information Administration and the FCC will collaborate on a 10-year "to make available significant spectrum suitable for both mobile and fixed wireless broadband use over the next 10 years.

The plan is expected to focus on commercial broadband use or "dynamic" shared use by private industry and the government.

The administration was already budgeting $1.6 billion in auction revenues by 2020 by extending the FCC's authority, but says it is looking to create value "beyond the $1.6 billion" from the spectrum the plan uncovers auctioning.

The FCC is already contemplating ways to get spectrum back from broadcasters to create some of that "extra value." Broadcasters don't argue that their spectrum is not valuable, only that it is not available, since it is being used for HDTV and muliticasting and mobile DTV.

The FCC's proposed 2011 budget is $352.5 million.