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Bill Clinton freaks out over G3 wireless

Yikes! America's falling behind

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American airwaves are becoming hopelessly congested and there isn't much bandwidth available for expansion, a worried US President Bill Clinton observed in a hastily-drafted Executive Memorandum signed on Friday, in which he directed the Secretaries of State, Defence, Treasury, Transportation and Commerce to get their act together, cooperate, and solve the problem straight away [and no snickering in the press gallery, bud].

He also 'strongly encouraged' (read 'ordered') the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to develop rules to identify and auction off spectrum for third-generation wireless services, upon which, apparently, the entire world economy will soon depend.

"Time is of the essence. If the United States does not move quickly to allocate this spectrum, there is a danger that the US could lose market share in the industries of the 21st Century," the President fretted as he announced the Memo.

The stakes could not be higher. The high-tech golden goose has been laying furiously, at least according to Clinton's calculus. "Over the last five years, the information technology sector has accounted for nearly one-third of US economic growth, and has generated jobs that pay eighty-five per cent more than the private sector average," the President claimed.

"The action I am taking today will help US high-tech entrepreneurs compete and win in the global marketplace."

Clinton ordered the several agencies to file a report by June of 2001 identifying which frequencies are available for sharing or reassignment; the FCC will draw up rules for the horse trade; and a grand bandwidth auction will be held in September of 2002, if all goes according to plan.

Things will go according to plan if the Departments of Defence, Justice, State and Transportation, among other, lesser federal gobblers of bandwidth, humbly consent to relinquish their long-held entitlements to promote the nourishment of high-tech, mega-corporate profiteers.

The odds, we reckon, are a bit poor. ®

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