This may not be a fee on wireless carriers at all, but on broadcast spectrum, according to some sources.
The budget blueprint, released Thursday, provides no more details about the fee. Despite some speculation to the contrary, it may not, however, be a fee on wireless voice and data spectrum, but on spectrum used by U.S. radio and television stations.
The proposed spectrum license user fee, which would be $200 million in 2010 and $300 million in 2011, takes up one line on page 126 of the 142-page budget blueprint.
A similar fee, proposed but not enacted in past federal budgets, has not been for wireless spectrum that companies have purchased in auctions from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, but on TV and radio spectrum that's been allocated to broadcasters, said a government source familiar with past FCC budgets.