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FCC: You'll have to wait EVEN LONGER for faster wireless broadband

US spectrum auction won't happen until 2016 now

The FCC confirmed today that it will delay its planned wireless broadband spectrum auction until at least 2016.

The US regulator blamed a court case for holding up efforts to sell TV frequencies to cell networks, which will then use the airwaves for faster and broader mobile data services.

The commission hoped to auction off the spectrum space by the middle of next year. However, telly broadcasters sued the commission as they're upset with the auction's rules. The FCC now says the auction will probably not take place until the case is settled, likely the early part of 2016.

The auction had already been pushed back once due to over concerns about timetables for planning the procedure.

"We are confident we will prevail in court, but given the reality of that schedule, the complexity of designing and implementing the auction, and the need for all auction participants to have certainty well in advance of the auction, we now anticipate accepting applications for the auction in the fall of 2015 and starting the auction in early 2016," the FCC said on Friday.

"Despite this brief delay, we remain focused on the path to successfully implementing the incentive auction."

The FCC hopes the auction will eventually improve wireless broadband coverage and speeds in the US. The plan would have TV stations auction off their rights to portions of the spectrum to carriers and then consolidate their broadcasts onto the remaining channels.

The commission has estimated that some stations could receive tens of millions of dollars in the auction. ®

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