Don't Tax Municipal Wi-Fi

Could a little-noticed clause in the U.S. budget lead to taxes on city-run wireless broadband access?

President Bush has established the important goal of achieving universal broadband availability for all Americans by 2007. Yet, in a little-noticed portion of its budget, the Administration urges Congress to enact a new tax, euphemistically described as a "user fee" on unauctioned spectrum licenses that give holders the right to transmit radio signals. It is hard to discern precisely what is intended by this obscure proposal, but within 24 hours of its release the White House said it had no intention of taxing Wi-Fi services that operate in unlicensed spectrum.

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