Federal budget proposes tax on WiFi

In the face of mounting budget deficits, President Bush proposed a tax in the form of a "user fee" for "un-auctioned" spectrum, like WiFi and similar short range technologies. The details of the intended plan are still unclear since RCR Wireless just ferreted out the proposal from deep within the four volumes of the president's budget proposal for 2007. The budget estimates that these "user fees" would bring in an estimated $3.6 billion over the next decade. However, whether "user fee" refers to a fee for vendors or end users is indistinguishable.

The budget proposal states: "Service providers using different technologies to deliver a similar product can face different spectrum license acquisition costs. The lack of parity in spectrum assignment creates incentives that can diminish the overall utility of the spectrum." Also, the president once again called for the elimination of the Telecommunications Development Fund, calling it a "poorly performing venture capital enterprise."

For more on the president's 2007 budget proposal:
- check out this article in RCR Wireless

PLUS: The U.S. government now thinks it can raise an estimated $25 billion between 2007 and 2009 from auctioning off wireless spectrum--up from the original $17.2 billion estimate. Article