Following on the heels of a report in The Washington Post last weekend, that the FCC had drawn up a proposal to offer nationwide "super" WiFi, or high-speed, long range WiFi, for free to the public, an FCC spokesperson has clarified to TPM that the proposal being referenced in the Post article is actually a broadcast spectrum auction proposal announced in September 2012, which would have broadcasters voluntarily cede spectrum licenses, such as those for rights to broadcast on the UHF band, in favor of proceeds of an auction, to be held in 2014, for flexible use rights of the relinquished spectrum.
So the idea that the government would itself be in control of the freed-up spectrum is true only for the period of the auction, at which point, anyone could bid on the spectrum. As an FCC spokesperson explained to TPM (emphasis added):
“The FCC’s incentive auction proposal, launched in September of last year, would unleash substantial spectrum for licensed uses like 4G LTE. It would also free up unlicensed spectrum for uses including, but not limited to, next generation Wi-Fi. As the demand for mobile broadband continues to grow rapidly, both licensed and unlicensed spectrum must be part of a balanced solution.”
A number of reports from tech and news blogs have called the Washington Post's story into question, and the writer is reportedly said to be preparing a clarification peace.