"White space" broadband, a technology that rides on the unlicensed spectrum freed by the migration to digital television, only recently got off the ground
and has significant potential promise as a new, inexpensive, long range niche wireless alternative. As such, wireless carriers like AT&T have been trying their best to kill it in the metaphorical cradle to prevent potential future competitors.
Earlier this year AT&T failed to sneak language into a payroll tax extension bill
that would have prohibited the FCC from allocating unlisenced spectrum in the TV white spaces. AT&T has been throwing money at the GOP so they'll oppose not only White Space broadband, but limits on spectrum ownership designed precisely to stop companies like AT&T from edging out competitors through spectrum hoarding
House Republicans warned the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday against “giving away” scarce airwaves that they said could produce up to $19 billion in proceeds if they were instead auctioned to telecommunications companies for use in mobile broadband networks...Republicans on the subcommittee also sparred with Mr. Genachowski over whether the F.C.C. should limit the amount of spectrum any one company could own. That would limit the potential buyers of some spectrum to be auctioned. Supporters of restrictions say they are one of a few ways to give smaller cellphone companies the ability to build nationwide networks.
AT&T, and their well-paid friends in Congress also strictly oppose "use it or lose it" rules also aimed at preventing spectrum hoarding. The GOP pretense is that they're just super concerned
about the quality of U.S. networks, but the reality here is they're being directed by AT&T, who simply doesn't want the competition that anti-hoarding rules or unlicensed spectrum could potentially help facilitate.