FCC sets date for next auction


The Federal Communications Commission announced Wednesday that May 28 will be the
date for its second attempt to sell 256 local licenses for frequencies now used
for channels 54 and 59 and for channel 55 -- the so-called C and D blocks of the
700-megahertz band.

The licenses did not have takers when the rest of the C and D blocks were
sold in September.

Channels 52, 53 and 56 through 58 will be sold at a later date.

The auctions are being conducted as part of the transition to digital television,
which requires broadcasters to give up rights to channels 52 through 59 and transfer
operations to the core channels 2 through 50.

The auction of channels 60 through 69 has not been scheduled.

The government is reclaiming channels on the 700-MHz spectrum as part
of its effort to convert broadcasters to digital transmissions and offering up
their old analog channels for new uses.

The auction winners, however, are not entitled to the frequencies until
incumbent broadcasters there have completed the switch to digital TV -- 2006 at the

Use can be obtained earlier if the winners strike early buyout deals with the

A variety of new uses are envisioned for the frequencies, including mobile
Internet, but television also is permitted.