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AWS-3 Auction Opens with $1.7 Billion in Bids

The FCC's AWS-3 (advanced wireless services) auction is underway. With the first round completed, the opening bids (1,679 of them for 1,012 licenses) totaled $1,767,350,800.

In the AWS-3 auction, 65 MHz of spectrum is up for bid, part of a congressional—and White House—mandate to free up wireless spectrum for mobile broadband.

It will be the largest amount of spectrum auctioned since the FCC's 2008 700 MHz auction.

AWS-3 will be the second of three spectrum auctions mandated by Congress to fund the FirstNet interoperable broadband network, as well as local first responders, advanced 911, R&D and deficit reduction.

The first auction, or H block spectrum, collected $1.564 billion toward that goal (FirstNet alone is $7 billion), but the FCC is already predicting that the AWS-3 auction will raise most if not all of that $7 billion, putting less pressure on the third auction, the broadcast incentive auction, scheduled for 2016.

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.