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BRIEFLY / TELEVISION

FCC to Sell Airwaves to Wireless Industry

March 17, 2001|Jube Shiver Jr.

Federal regulators began to craft plans to sell valuable airwaves now held by television broadcasters to the booming wireless industry. The Federal Communications Commission said it will seek public comment on a proposal that would make television channels 52-59 available for new mobile communication services such as high-speed wireless Internet access. The airwaves will become available as broadcasters switch to digital TV systems that will offer sharper pictures and higher-quality sound. Vacant TV channels could be sold and converted to wireless use as soon as the FCC finalizes auction rules. But broadcasters can continue to air programs on channels they now occupy until 85% of consumers have digital television sets, or by 2006, whichever is later.

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