Sen. Pryor doubts FCC auction will be ready by 2014

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Congress authorized the FCC last year to buy back the broadcast licenses of TV stations for auction to wireless carriers. The additional spectrum will help the carriers meet their customers' skyrocketing demand for mobile data.

The FCC plans to hold the auction by next year, but the agency must still address a number of difficult political and technical issues.

Pryor emphasized the importance of providing more spectrum to the private sector and said his subcommittee will look at the frequencies currently controlled by federal agencies.

But he said that Congress must be "sensitive" to the Defense Department and other agencies that rely on large chunks of airwaves for their systems. 

"It's going to take some time, and it's going to take a lot of money to do this," Pryor said. "One of the things is to try give them the incentive to do it."