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Govt. cash cow No. 94

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E-commerce Minister Patricia Hewitt has released details of the government's plans to auction radio spectrum for broadband fixed wireless access.

There will be three licences available in each of the 11 English licence areas and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Successful bidders will be limited to one licence per area, but will be able to hold licences in multiple areas. The licences will get 112MHz of spectrum and will be valid for 15 years.

The 28GHz technology is designed to let users get cheap, fast Web and multimedia access by radio links instead of via a phone line.

Draft regulations will soon be published, along with a notice of detailed arrangements for the auction, said Hewitt. Comments can be received until July 17, with Hewitt adding she hoped to present the regulations before Parliament by the end of July. ®

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