House Republicans proposed draft legislation last week that would let companies like AT&T and Verizon buy their way out of public interest obligations. Here's how:

  1. Broadcasters, like Fox, can buy their way out of public interest obligations if they put spectrum licenses up for sale. 
  2. Wireless companies, like AT&T and Verizon, can buy their way out of consumer protections if they buy this new spectrum.
  3. "Unlicensed spectrum" is on the auction block, selling off public airwaves and making us pay for future WiFi-like services.
  4. To make it worse, all of this is wrapped up in the debt ceiling debate, but won't actually make a significant dent in the national debt.

Don't think it's worth the tradeoff (less unlicensed spectrum and less wireless innovation for very little benefit to either the public or the government's bottom line)? Call your Member of Congress!

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For more information on this issue, read up on the Republican spectrum bill in Giga Om and Ars Technica.



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