WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The jobless-benefits bill Congress approved Friday will mean mobile devices like smartphones will eventually have faster broadband connections, lawmakers said.
The $30 billion price tag for renewing expiring jobless benefits for as long as 73 weeks will be paid for by auctioning no-longer-needed TV airwaves to create more wireless Internet systems, the bill approved by both congressional chambers said.
Adapting TV airwaves for mobile broadband will improve systems' ability to quickly download maps, video games, movies and other downloadable content, lawmakers of both parties said.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Communications and Technology subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., said the auction would be "an economic game-changer."
"Spectrum auctions are not only good public policy for the communications and technology sector, they will produce meaningful job creation when we need it most," they said in a joint statement.
The auctions are at least a year away, officials estimated.
The auctions are also intended to open the spectrum to create a nationwide communications network for emergency workers so police, fire and other responders from different departments and jurisdictions can talk to each other directly, The New York Times said.