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Gov’t plans to double available cellphone wireless spectrum

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Sunday it intends to nearly double the available amount of wireless communications spectrum over the next 10 years in an effort to keep up with the ever-growing demand for high-speed video and data transmission to cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices.

The White House said President Barack Obama will sign a presidential memorandum Monday committing the federal government to auctioning off 500 megahertz of federal and commercial spectrum. Revenue from the auctions would be spent on public safety, infrastructure investments and deficit reduction.

National Economic Council director Lawrence H. Summers will explain the new policy in a speech Monday at the New America Foundation, a Washington think tank.

In an excerpt released by the White House, Summers said, “This initiative will catalyze private sector investment, contribute to economic growth and help to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

The administration said it hopes to encourage the spread of wireless broadband across the country, including rural areas. The auction is intended, in part, to counter fears of a potential “spectrum crunch” as smart phones and laptop computers become more popular and new wireless devices hit the market.

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