Paxson keeps pushing for auctions

Paxson Communications Corp. CEO Bud Paxson Thursday again pushed the Federal Communications Commission to auction the 700-megahertz band of spectrum.

In a letter to FCC chairman Michael Powell, Paxson said, "If that auction is
now delayed, the chances of success will diminish drastically and the
public-interest benefits will be delayed indefinitely."

The Bush administration and top members of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee are pushing the FCC to delay the auctions, which are scheduled for June.

Paxson is eager for the auctions to take place. His company stands to earn
millions of dollars from companies that win spectrum and are willing to pay broadcasters to
clear off before 2006.

Paxson also pointed out that because auction rules require the spectrum to sell
for a minimum of $2.6 billion, the government will receive at least its budgeted

Two weeks ago, Powell told a House panel that the law requires the FCC to
move ahead with the auctions absent legislation to delay them.

House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and 51
committee members Wednesday introduced such a bill, but even Tauzin doesn't
expect it to pass.