White House bill pushes spectrum deadlines


The Bush administration plans to send legislation to Capitol Hill in April that would move the statutory deadlines for analog spectrum auctions to 2004 for channels 60-69 and to 2006 for channels 52-59, administration officials said Monday.

"It will make it cleaner and more certain for everyone to have the deadlines in a statute," said one official. The legislation also would include analog spectrum fees of $200 million per year starting in 2002, but House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) has said that proposal is "dead on arrival."

The bill also would require the FCC to develop regulations that would allow wireless and other companies to pay broadcasters to clear the 700 megahertz spectrum (channels 60-69) early, as the FCC and Paxson Communications Corp. has suggested. Administration officials say the three-pronged bill likely will be referred to the Senate and House Commerce Committees.
- Paige Albiniak