2004 budget proposal calls for spectrum relocation fund
The Bush administration’s 2004 budget calls for the reintroduction of legislation to create a spectrum relocation fund from which the Pentagon can draw to move military radio systems off frequencies identified for third-generation wireless systems and onto other airwave bands. The White House estimated the fund would cost $2.5 billion from 2005 to 2010.
One potential hurdle is the $2.2 trillion budget’s projection of a $307 billion deficit in fiscal 2004. The budget deficit for fiscal 2003, which began Oct. 1, is expected to be $304 billion, and over the next five years it could balloon to more than $1 trillion. The administration said legislation is needed to make permanent the spectrum auction law, which is due to expire in 2007, and to authorize spectrum lease fees as alternative to wireless license sales. The budget blueprint seeks to assess—beginning in 2007—$500 million annually in lease fees for analog broadcast spectrum still held by TV stations struggling to transition to digital technology but designated for public safety and commercial wireless sectors.