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C-Band Auction Slows to Relative Trickle

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

The FCC's C-Band spectrum auction could be moving toward its close, at least of the initial bidding on spectrum blocks--there will be a follow-on auction of specific frequencies for the winners.

Related: Cable Ops Say C-Band Bucks Should Be Use-Specific

After round-over-round gross proceeds increases of as much as $4 billion since the Dec. 8 launch, the FCC's C-Band auction's latest round (65) had slowed to increases of under $200 million and was up only a little over $38 million--still to an eye-popping $80,5210,867,838, almost double the previous gross total record for an FCC spectrum auction, which was the 2014 AWS-3 auction, which closed with $44,899,451,600 in gross proceeds.

There are currently only 35 spectrum blocks with demand greater than supply, while 417 have demand equal to supply, meaning the price is pretty much set and bidding has ended, and none with demand less than supply.

The FCC has not announced any changes to the bidding or duration of the rounds, currently five, half-hour rounds per day, as it has at times in previous auctions when they slowed.

Also Read: Divided FCC Votes to Proceed with C-Band Auction

The FCC voted last February to free up 300 MHz of C-Band (3.7-3.98 GHz) satellite spectrum for terrestrial 5G broadband, 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 in the auction include AT&T, Cellco Partnership, Cox, T-Mobile, and United States Cellular.

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.