The interminable countdown to the white spaces vote

It seems vaguely fitting that here on Election Day in Washington, I find myself in a lengthy holding pattern awaiting the returns from a historic vote.

Right — we’ll learn who wins the White House later tonight. In the meantime, we’re tracking white spaces at the Federal Communications Commission, and we’re not getting any closer.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 11:00. It is now 1:04, and we’ve just been informed that we are adjourned until 1:45.

The press corps is getting restless. Many have left for lunch. Others are taking bets on whether the commissioners will appear by 1:45.

So far we’ve seen Chairman Kevin Martin, who chatted with the press and took a few shots at his fellow commissioners for failing to make up their minds about reforms to the Universal Service Fund and intercarrier compensation, or what to do about auctioning off the AWS-3 spectrum, as well as for their tardiness for today’s meeting.

Yes, the move to unlock the great, untapped potential of the wireless spectrum that resides between analog TV channels will have to wait just a little longer as the commissioners debate roaming conditions that should be attached to the expected approval of the Verizon-Alltel merger, another item on today’s agenda.

So we wait.

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