C-Band Auction Approaches $2 Billion After Round One

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

Gross proceeds after the first round of the FCC's C-Band auction Tuesday (Dec. 8) totaled $1,741,759,100.

Related: FCC Sets December Auction for C-Band Spectrum

It is the largest-ever auction of midband spectrum.

The FCC is auctioning 5,684 flexible-use licenses for spectrum in the 3.7– 3.98 GHz band in the contiguous U.S. 

While use is flexible, bidders are expected to use it to expand their 5G footprints. There are 57 qualified bidders.

Some predictions put the value of the spectrum--280 GHz worth of midband frequencies--at as much as $30 billion.

There will be two, two-hour rounds the first day--the second round began at 2 p.m., followed by three, one-hour rounds on Wednesday.

The C-band is the midband spectrum currently used by satellite operators to deliver network programming to broadcasters and cable operators. The auction is the FCC's latest move to free up spectrum for 5G. The commission is under pressure to free up more midband, 5G "beachfront," spectrum given its recent focus on high-band spectrum.

The auction comprises a clock phase with bidding on generic blocks in each partial economic area (PEA), followed by an assignment phase for specific frequencies. 

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.