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US gov optimistic on wireless auctions

Estimates go up to $25bn

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The Bush administration has increased the amount it believes it can raise from auctioning off wireless spectrum.

The US government now expects, or hopes, to raise $25bn between 2007 and 2009 - rather than the $17.2bn it originally predicted. The Federal Communications Commission will start by selling off 90MHz of airwaves in June, which could raise as much as $15bn.

The FCC will sell off spectrum currently used by TV broadcasters as they move to high definition frequencies in 2008. Internet companies and mobile carriers are expected to bid for the radiowaves, which could be used for video-streaming or faster internet access.

Some of the cash raised will go towards improving search, rescue and emergency communications, $1.5bn will go on subsidising set-top boxes for those stuck with analogue TVs, and $7.4bn will go to reducing federal debt.

The US government plans on a budget deficit of $318bn for 2005, rising to $423bn in 2006 and $354bn in 2007.

More info here from the Office of Management and Budget or there's more on Reuters here. ®

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