Obama proposes to boost public airwaves fees

WASHINGTON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Obama administration’s proposed 2010 budget seeks to significantly boost the user fees the U.S. government charges holders of public airwaves held by many telephone and wireless companies.

Yearly fees for spectrum licenses are proposed to rise to $200 million in 2010, from $50 million in 2009, according to the document posted on the Office of Management and Budget’s Web site.

After that, the fees eventually increase to $550 million per user per year, totalling $4.8 billion over the next decade.

In the government's most recent spectrum auction, AT&T IncT.N and Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Vodafone Group and Verizon Communications VZ.N spent about $16 billion to get access to the airwaves.

The Federal Communications Commission runs auctions for public spectrum.