White House wants 700-MHz auction delays

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The Bush administration is pushing the Federal Communications Commission to
delay auctions of the 700-megahertz spectrum that the agency has planned for June.

"Until more certainty exists about the means for and timing of such spectrum
clearing, an auction of the upper and lower 700-MHz bands would be premature and
contrary to public interest," wrote Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans to FCC
chairman Michael Powell.

The administration wants to shift auctions of television channels 60 through
69 (747 through 762 and 777 through 792 MHz) to 2004 and auctions of television channels 52
through 59 (698 through 746 MHz) to 2006.

Powell told a House Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday that he intends to
hold the 60-through-69 auctions June 19 as scheduled, even though Rep. David
Vitter (R-La.) indicated that he and other members of Congress would prefer a
delay.

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