The US telecoms regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a plan to auction wireless spectrum in the 700MHz band, reports Thomson Dialog NewsEdge, in a move which marks the first step on the path to auctioning spectrum being abandoned by television stations. The regulator yesterday approved a plan to sell chunks of spectrum covering areas of varying geographic size, including metropolitan areas, larger regional economic zones, and multi-state regions. The FCC is also keen to receive comments on a number of proposals for the spectrum, which was freed up in 2006 following a Congress vote which forced TV stations to switch to digital broadcasts channels by February 2009. It is understood that auctions of 60MHz spectrum could raise at least USD10 billion. The frequencies can be used for a variety of broadband services giving consumers the choice of a so-called ‘third pipe’.