I found this in an AP article posted on Yahoo News. "In the U.S., most of the spectrum has been sold to wireless companies, reaping $19.6 billion for the Treasury. Some of the buyers plan to start using the airwaves this year — potentially giving the country a multiyear jump on advanced wireless services."
But the President's economic stimulus plan "is likely to contain $6 billion to $9 billion to help fund landline and wireless broadband networks in unserved and underserved areas. It also is likely to give tax incentives to encourage companies to invest in new or faster broadband networks," (this from another AP article at Yahoo Tech.
Jiminy Christmas! We'll be giving the money right back to those wireless companies if this provision is included in the stimulus plan. I realize it's important to extend options to rural areas and parts of the country that currently have limited or no access. But since the wireless companies are some of the FEW companies still registering healthy profits in this economic downturn (okay, let's be honest and call it a recession), I figure there should be a way to mandate their expansion of the infrastructure into those areas. After all, the people who ultimately will be paying for broadband and wireless services in those areas are the consumers of those services. Why should U.S. taxpayers foot the bill? Congress needs to find a way to require those companies to repay any funding obtained as part of the stimulus plan. Maybe they could have 5 or 10 years to do so, but it should be done.