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No Auction Framework On FCC Dec. Meeting Agenda

It is looking increasingly unlikely that the FCC will vote on an auction framework by the end of the year.

That had been the goal, but the FCC agenda for the last meeting of the year, which was released Thursday, did not include an item and it would be unusual for such a high-profile vote to be taken by the commissioners "on circulation"—outside a public meeting.

The agenda does include the following: an order on 911 reliability, a report on the IP transition, an update on mobile device unlocking, and a vote on a proposed rulemaking to allow use of mobile wireless devices in-flight, at the discretion of the airline. That last item has drawn some unexpected fire.

The meeting has been moved to the afternoon given that an FCC oversight hearing in the House was scheduled for the morning of Dec. 12. The FCC meeting is now scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said last week that he was not going to rush an auction of unprecedented complexity, suggesting he did not want a moment.

Broadcasters represented by the National Association of Broadcasters have been pushing the FCC for some regulatory certainty about how the auction will be conducted, but they also do not want the FCC to rush the auction.

The government shutdown could also be a factor in any move of the timetable. Still on track at last check was the first of several spectrum auctions, the H Block auction, which is scheduled for next month, though it was moved back from an original Jan. 14 date to Jan. 22.

At his first public meeting, Wheeler said that auction would go on as scheduled.