A BANDWIDTH BONANZA

HOW THE NETWORKS PLAN TO MAKE EVEN MORE FROM A $70 BILLION HANDOUT

Even by the standards of beltway largesse, the arrangement was breathtakingly generous. In April the Federal Communications Commission, at the behest of Congress, handed out prized space on public airwaves to the nation's television broadcasters, space that would have fetched the public as much as $70 billion at auction. The broadcasters got better than a good deal on the new frequencies (effectively, a second channel for each of the nation's 1,500 TV stations). They got them for free. "The largest single grant of public property to a single industry in this generation," grumbles FCC chairman Reed Hundt, who favored an auction...

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