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FCC 700 MHz spectrum auction ends

by on19 March 2008


Auction nets $19.59 billion

The winning bidders of licenses for the 700 MHz spectrum previously owned by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have been awarded, but not yet announced. FCC Commission Chairman, Kevin Martin, indicated that the winners will be announced in a few days, after the four other FCC Commissioners approve an order to formally conclude the auction. The 700 MHz spectrum is becoming available as television broadcasters switch from analog signals to digital signals by 2009.

The “C” block spectrum was the most heavily bid and contentious part of the airwave spectrum that attracted a $4.74 billion bid by itself.  Some analysts predicted Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group Plc as the bid winners of the C block. Included in the C block bid requirement was the mandate lobbied by Google, Inc. that this part of the spectrum would be accessible to any device or software application.

The winners of the hundreds of licenses were expected to be announced within days. Under FCC rules, bidder identities were kept secret while the auction was in progress. Martin said the announcement would come after the FCC's four other commissioners approved an order he said is needed to formally end the auction. The auction began on January 24th and continued through 260 rounds of bidding.

The “D” block spectrum did not meet its minimum bid requirement and will be segregated from the rest of the spectrum for possible re-auction. The D block spectrum winner must give emergency use priority to police, firefighters and other public safety groups during an emergency.

Last modified on 19 March 2008
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