NJ Windfall from Sale of Public Airwaves Likely Smaller Than Projected

More than a year after state officials decided to put New Jersey’s publicly owned airwaves into a nationwide auction of broadcast spectrum that’s being led by the federal government, hopes that the state could generate a multibillion-dollar windfall appear to be fading.

A complicated and lengthy federal-auction process is finally winding down, and it’s still not clear exactly how much revenue New Jersey can expect to receive from the auction and when the money could arrive.

But Gov. Chris Christie’s recent budget proposal for the next state fiscal year provided a small clue with the inclusion of a $325 million revenue placeholder under the heading “asset sales.” Christie also told reporters recently that a portion of the $325 million is linked to the Federal Communications Commission’s broader effort to free up broadcast airwaves currently being used by television stations in favor of wireless providers who are trying to meet an increasing consumer demand for streaming video and other content that’s viewable over wireless broadband.

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