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Group asks FCC to rethink auction plan

The Spectrum Clearing Alliance, led by Paxson Communications Corp., late last week
asked the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider rules tying the auction of spectrum now used for TV
channels 60 through 69 to a similar sale of spectrum used for channels 52 through 59. Both
bidding sessions are now scheduled for June 19.

The Alliance -- members of which are comprised of group owners with stations on
the 60-through-69 band -- said an FCC plan allowing some 52-through-59 spectrum to be
acquired for metro or rural statistical areas, rather than the six larger
economic regions into which the higher channels are being divvied, will create
uncertainty about clearing the lower band. Because of uncertainty about finding
buyers for all of the spectrum now used for channels 52 through 59, the auction may
be postponed, the Alliance argued.

The group is eager to complete the auction for the higher channels because
the FCC allows them to negotiate early buyouts from the wireless and advanced
technology companies expected to vie for the spectrum. The deals could be worth
hundreds of billions dollars in all.