FCC Boss Sees Wireless Auction Starting in June

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An auction of U.S. airwaves that could be used for wireless video and
high-speed Internet access will likely go ahead in June, Federal
Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said on Friday.

Wireless companies are typically hungry for more airwaves to expand
and improve their services. Companies like Cingular Wireless and
Verizon Wireless, the two largest U.S. carriers, are rolling out new
products, like broadband and video.

"I think the commission still intends (on) going forward with the AWS
(Advanced Wireless Services) auction in June, in this summer," Martin
told reporters after an FCC meeting. "I anticipate that we are going
to move forward with it, I don't have any other plans."

The FCC said in late 2004 that the sale could occur as early as June
2006.

Some of the airwaves to be sold are being cleared by U.S. government
operations and some of the expected auction proceeds are being
earmarked to cover the costs of moving those services, estimated to be
almost $936 million.

The FCC sale can only be completed if the proceeds from the sale bring
in at least 10 percent more than those costs.

Cingular Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. carrier, is a joint venture of
BellSouth Corp. and AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless is the No. 2 provider
and a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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