WASHINGTON, June 28 U.S. President Barack
Obama's plan to free up airways would nearly double the amount
of commercial spectrum currently available for wireless
devices, an administration official said on Monday.
The plan would make available 500 megahertz of federal and
commercial spectrum over the next 10 years, the official said,
speaking on condition of anonymity.
Freeing up spectrum would also create jobs by meeting the
growing demand for mobile and fixed broadband, spur economic
growth and raise funds to build an emergency network for public
safety workers, the official said.
Some estimates suggest the next five years will see an
increase in wireless data of between 20 to 45 times 2009
levels, reflecting the burgeoning use of smartphones, netbooks
and other wireless devices.
Obama was scheduled to sign a presidential memorandum on
the policy on Monday as part of a broader effort that also
includes legislation to facilitate the transfer of spectrum,
the official said.
White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers was scheduled
to provide details on the policy in a midday speech to the New
"The president's plan will nearly double the amount of
commercial spectrum available to unleash the innovative
potential of wireless broadband," Summers said in remarks
prepared for delivery.
"This initiative will catalyze private sector investment,
contribute to economic growth, and help to create hundreds of
thousands of jobs," Summers said in excerpts made available in
advance of the speech.
Under the policy, most of the freed-up spectrum would be
auctioned for mobile broadband use, according to the
administration official who spoke on background.
Revenues from the auction would provide funding to help
build a nationwide mobile broadband network for public safety.
(Reporting by JoAnne Allen)