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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.