The US government's planned June wireless spectrum auction is likely to be delayed because of lack of interest and the failure of analogue TV broadcasters to move to digital.
Following a motion for delay passed by the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, a bill to put back the date will now be voted on.
The auction is set to start on 19 June, but the spectrum-starved US wireless business isn't keen.
That's because much of the 700MHz spectrum is still in use by analogue TV companies, who had been expected to have moved to a a higher spectrum supporting digital broadcasting by now.
Many of these TV companies still have the right to use the spectrum for broadcasting up until 2007 or until there is an 85 per cent market penetration for digital TV in the US.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already delayed the auction five times over the past few years and has missed the initial deadline for the first part of the auctions by two years.
The deadline for the rest of the spectrum falls on 30 September.
Now, the new bill will scrap any deadline, and will also give the FCC another year before it has to report back to Congress on future spectrum allocation plans.
The success of the new bill is no foregone conclusion though. Some senators oppose the delay, and may bring in contrary legislation to require the sale take place by 30 September.
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