FCC Delays Vote on Wireless Auction Rules

FCC meeting to set rules for the sale of wireless spectrum was postponed from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT, delaying the anticipated vote.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday delayed until 12:30 p.m. EDT an open meeting to set rules for the sale of valuable wireless airwaves.

The five commissioners had been due to meet at 10 a.m., but last minute negotiations over details delayed the meeting for the vote, according to the FCC.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, has proposed allowing requiring the winning bidders of some of the airwaves—to be sold by early next year—to allow consumers to connect using any device or software.

The airwaves to be sold in the 700-megahertz band can travel long distances and penetrate thick walls. The auction is seen as a last opportunity for a new player to enter the wireless market.

The 700-Mhz airwaves are being returned by broadcasters as they move from analog to digital signals early in 2009.

Currently, wireless carriers restrict the models of cell phones that can be used on their networks. They also limit the software that can be downloaded onto them, such as ring tones, music or Web browser software.


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