"Gangbusters" would appear to be the word of the day, or days, as the description of how the FCC's C-Band spectrum auction is going as it continues to grow by billion-dollar leaps and bounds.
As of the first round (39) of the day Tuesday (Dec. 22), the gross bid total was $54,983,533,204, up more than $4 billion from the previous round total of $50,844,653,164, likely a record for a single-round spectrum auction bid increase.
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.
It has already blown by the previous record for gross proceeds in an FCC spectrum auction. The FCC's 2014 AWS-3 auction, the previous record holder, closed with $44,899,451,600 in gross proceeds, while the C-Band auction appears far from wrapping up given the pace of bidding.
Bidders will get a rest after two rounds Wednesday (Dec. 23) as the FCC takes a holiday break until Monday, Jan. 4.
The FCC voted last February to free up 300 MHz of the C-Band for 5G, 280 of that to be auctioned and 20 MHz to be used as a guard band between wireless users and the incumbent satellite operators that will use the remaining 200 MHz to continue to deliver network programming to broadcaster and cable operator (and other) clients.
Bidders include AT&T, Cellco Partnership, Cox, T-Mobile, and United States Cellular.
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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.
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