February 27, 2012

Congress Gives the Green Light to Incentive Auctions

On February 17, both the House and the Senate passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. Among other things, the Act provides for the extension of the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits and prevents cuts in Medicare physician payment rates. To help offset the cost of the Act, the legislation includes significant spectrum provisions centered around preparations and details of a future auction of spectrum currently held by broadcast television licensees to other users, likely including commercial wireless carriers. This process is ultimately expected to raise billions of dollars for the Treasury, while also helping to fund the creation of a nationwide public safety broadband network for emergency first responders, another subject of the Act.

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