U.S. pushes date for auction of airwave bandwidth to 2015

Dec. 6, 2013 at 6:15 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. government will delay until the middle of 2015 an auction of airwaves volunteered by broadcasters to improve wireless services, officials said.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, in a blog post, said he is postponing plans to publish auction rules by the end of this year and conduct the sale of spectrum in 2014, citing as part of the reason the complexity of the auction technology.

"Getting the right policy and procedures for the auction is only half the job," Wheeler wrote. "For the incentive auction to be a success, we must also ensure that the operating systems and software to run it work from the moment the first bid is placed, until the final broadcast station is relocated or 'repacked.'"

Wheeler likened the complexity of the auction process and technology to a Rubik's cube, requiring developing and testing operations under a variety of scenarios replicating real life conditions.

Only when the software and systems are technically ready, user friendly, and thoroughly tested, he said, would the auction be schedules.

"I believe we can conduct a successful auction in the middle of 2015," he wrote.

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