The '700 megahertz' auction, estimated to bring between $10-30 billion (not the $10B reported in class), has the possibility of creating a new broadband wireless service that would be able to penetrate walls and buildings as well as blanket the entire country. As the country and the economy moves towards a wireless network, this bandwidth affords us the opportunity to reach the 'last mile' in ways unimaginable only a few years ago. Furthermore, the unused analog channels will also be used to put the police, firefighters and other first responders on one dedicated channel. My understanding, is that this is in response to one of the problem the police and firefighters had on 9-11, which was their inability to communicate with one another.
To clarify even further, it is not necessary for consumers to buy HDTV's in order to continue watching TV after the conversion. They can continue to buy and use analog sets provided they have a analog-to-digital converter available at a discounted rate courtesy of Uncle Sam or through the cable company when you purchase more than just basic cable. Also, all televisions sold in the US (aside from analog sets currently in inventory) since 3/1/07 have been digital ready, regardless if they are HD or not.