US communications regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided to delay a decision on the fate of a swathe of spectrum in the 2155MHz to 2180MHz band.

The regulator removed the discussion on the 25MHz chunk of AWS-3 spectrum from this week’s agenda.

The move should appease industry association the CTIA, which has urged the Commission to take more time over its decision. The CTIA believes that usage of the spectrum, “Will cause interference into existing adjacent commercial mobile spectrum bands crucial for the deployment of mobile wireless broadband.”

One of the options under consideration by the FCC, is to auction the spectrum off with a requirement that some portion of the bandwidth is set aside to provide free wireless internet access to the US.

Speculators suggest that the winner of the auction would be required to build out a network to provide free access to 50 per cent of the US population within four years and 95 per cent in ten years.

The spectrum would likely be offered as a technology neutral investment and WiMAX is being bandied around as a likely platform.