Cable JV Eyes Wireless-Spectrum Derby

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An application filed with the Federal Communications Commission will give the coalition of cable players and Sprint Nextel Corp. the green light to take part in a major auction of wireless spectrum in late June -- but it is still not clear if they will do so.

The coalition -- including Time Warner Cable, Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and Bright House Networks -- is planning to file a short-form application with the FCC to take part in the Advanced Wireless Service spectrum auction, set to start June 29.

The auction will offer up 1,222 spectrum licenses in two frequency chunks -- one in the 1710- to 1755-megahertz band and the other in the 2110- to 2155-MHz band -- that can be used for fixed- or mobile-broadband applications. That includes broadband-cellular services.

But it isn’t clear whether the joint venture will actually field bids during the auction. In a statement, Time Warner said the JV partners are still evaluating whether to gain direct interest in wireless spectrum.

“The filing of this application does not obligate Time Warner Cable or other companies to bid in the auction, but it provides us the flexibility to take part should we decide it makes business sense to do so,” according to the statement.

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