Rep Issa: Don’t sell off airwaves for short-term gains

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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said he is tired of selling off public airwaves only to fund a pork-barrel project or make a tiny dent in the deficit.

Selling off chunks of the spectrum to make a little short-term cash, he said, would be like selling off pieces of the Mississippi River or the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

“Public assets for the public good have never been before sold in the way that we deal with spectrum,” he said at a conference pushing for more unlicensed spectrum, which allows Wi-Fi systems and devices like garage door openers to operate.

In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission is planning to buy back chunks of the airwaves currently owned by broadcasters and resell them to wireless companies, which need the spectrum to offer high-speed Web access for consumers’ phones and tablets. Most of the airwaves will be allocated for specific companies, but the FCC will reserve some for unlicensed use to support Wi-Fi and other services. Just how much of the spectrum is unlicensed depends on how much broadcasters sell back to the government.

Rep Issa: Don’t sell off airwaves for short-term gains