Auction Update: H Block Surpasses $400M After Nine Rounds

The FCC's H block spectrum auction has drawn more than $400 million in bids after nine rounds of bidding since the auction opened Jan. 22. The auction resumes Monday morning (Jan. 27).

So far, there have been bids on 111 of 176 licenses available, with the biggest markets--New York ($134.7 million), L.A. ($81.4 million), and Chicago ($19.3 million) not surprisingly drawing the highest bids and accounting for well over half of the total money bid so far.

The H block is the first of three auctions whose proceeds will go to building out first responder network FirstNet. The more money raised in the first two auctions the less pressure on the final, broadcast incentive auction.

The FCC has set a $1.564 billion aggregate reserve price on the H Block auction and the FCC came up with an insurance policy for meeting that reserve, saying it would grant Dish a waiver it sought on some technical requirements on spectrum in an adjacent spectrum block--making it more attractive for Dish to bid for the H block--so long as Dish agree to at least meet the reserve price, in which it is reportedly one of the 23 qualified bidders--those bidders do not always bid under their own names.

The auction is expected to last a couple of weeks at least.

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.