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AWS-3 on Holiday Pause

The FCC's AWS-3 auction wrapped up its last round (round 246) early on Friday for the long weekend (Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday) with only $103,000 in new bids (6 of them). The auction will begin again on Jan. 20 with new rules to try and hurry the auction along to a close.

The current total is $44,703,764,100. Given that the FCC is under a statutory obligation to get the licenses out, and will still have a number of steps to go through—collecting the money, letting the public comment—before that, it is looking to wrap up the auction, which has blown past all pre-auction estimates to easily be the most successful auction—in terms of provisional bid totals—in the two-plus decades since the FCC starting auctioning spectrum.

Beginning Tuesday, in order to remain in the bidding, bidders will have to "be active on 100% of their bidding eligibility," up from 98% in recent rounds. Absent that the FCC will automatically apply a waiver, if the bidder still has one. If not, it may be out of the bidding.

The FCC is auctioning 65 MHz of spectrum, a combination of spectrum it already had with some reclaimed from federal users and broadcasters, who agreed to share spectrum digs.

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.