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FCC sets date for 700MHz band auction
Known as “Auction 73”
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finally set an auction date of January 16, 2008 for commencement of bidding for five portions of available analog 700 MHz spectrum. As we reported earlier, this spectrum is available due to television broadcasters converting from analog to digital bandwidth as mandated U.S. regulations by 2009.
The FCC has officially named the auction “Auction 73.” The proceeds from the auction will go to the U.S. Treasury Department and some analysts are speculating that the auction total could yield as much as US$20 billion. The FCC has divided the 700MHz band into five blocks for bidding, labeled “A” through “E” and will issue a total of just 1,099 licenses for all blocks.
The FCC posted its notice of the auction date last week and has requested public comments on its proposed rules by August 31st. FCC rules call for the auction bidders’ identities and each bid amount to remain secret and not be publicly released until each round of bidding has been completed. Bidding will be done anonymously in order to help enforce the FCC’s anti-collusion rules and to encourage competition among bidders.
One of the largest blocks in Auction 73 is “C” Block, which includes two sub-Blocks, C1 and C2. The FCC has set a reserve price of US$4.6 billion for these two blocks, which will reportedly be used to meet the demands for open networks and devices and software and hardware applications to serve public interest groups. C Block bidding will be subject to “package bidding” procedures, in which the packages are divided into 12 Regional Area Economic Groupings. This procedure was arrived at after the FCC conducted experimental economic testing and examined academic research on the subject.
All bids must be submitted for Auction 73 by January 28, 2008.
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