FCC C-Band Auction Tops $33 Billion in Round 33

c-band dish
(Image credit: Bloomberg/Getty)

The FCC's C-Band auction has blown by initial low-end estimates of the value of the spectrum as the FCC prepares for a Christmas week break.

As of the last round Friday, total gross proceeds were $33,949,619,100, oddly appropriate since that was after round 33, which means the bidding proceeds have increased on average more than a billion dollars per round.

Also Read: FCC Holding C-Band Auction in December

The FCC decreased the length of the rounds from an hour to a half hour Friday, and added another round for a total of five, which it historically does with auctions to light a fire under the bidders.

One early estimate pegged the value of the spectrum at $25 billion-$30 billion, so now it is headed for the higher estimate of $70-billion plus offered up early on by the C-Band Alliance.

Not surprisingly, the priciest market in the auction is top market New York. Monday's floor price--it is an ascending clock auction--is $351,787,000.

The auction's success so far was noted by former FCC commissioner Robert McDowell, currently co-chair of Cooley's global communications practice, who tweeted: "The @fcc’s C-Band auction has become a smashing success. After only 9 days, it has exceeded $33B of gross payments (excl. $13B of satellite payments) bearing down on the AWS-3’s record of $44.9B. With round pricing increments at 10%/ea. this week it could close north of $50B+!"

The FCC has released its holiday week bidding schedule for the auction. 

Bidding continues Monday (Dec. 21) and Tuesday with five, half-hour rounds, follows with two, half-hour rounds on Wednesday, then a break until Monday, Jan.4, with resumption of the five, half-hour round schedule.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.