Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act

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In 1993, Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (Govtrack), sponsored by Rep. Martin Sabo, D-Minn., which gave the Federal Communications Commission the authority to auction spectrum licenses. The bill allows the agency to use competitive bidding to choose from among two or more applications for an initial license. Prior to this legislation, the commission relied largely upon comparative hearings and lotteries to select a single licensee from a pool of applicants -- a far less effective approach to distribute the hugely valuable spectrum frequencies. Since adopting auctions, the average time from initial application to license grant has dropped to less than one year, according to the FCC, and proceeds from the licensing sales benefit taxpayers by generating revenue for the U.S. Treasury. The sale of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) licenses in September 2006, for example, raised $13.7 billion for the federal government. [1]

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  1. About Auctions Federal Communications Commission.

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