The Obama Administration’s budget proposes new annual license fees for wireless spectrum.
The proposal is expected to affect any number of wireless companies, including AT&T and Verizon Wireless, but also other license holders such as Cox Communications, Bresnan Communications, the Dish Network and Qualcomm.
The proposal is tucked in as a line item for the FCC in the budget document drafted by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in an appended table called Mandatory and Receipt Proposals.
The Administration intends to collect $50 million this year and $200 million next year. Collections would level off at a consistent $550 million a year from 2013 to 2019. The total raised through 2019 would be more than $4.7 billion.
These recurring fees would come on top of the initial license fees purchased in various spectrum auctions over the last 10 years. The most recent auction, of the 700 MHz spectrum that is gradually being vacated by television broadcasters as they switch to digital signals, brought in over $19 billion at auction.
There are few swaths of spectrum left to auction, however. The Obama Administration calculates the United States will be able to generate only about $4.8 billion in revenue from wireless auctions over the next 10 years.
Filed Under: Industry regulations