CBRS License Bidding Tops $1 Billion

The FCC's CBRS spectrum auction in its ninth day pushed past the $1 billion mark Friday (July 31) after its final round, with aggregate gross proceeds of $1,035,524,778, up from $962,334,629 in round 16. 

The FCC is auctioning 70 MHz worth of county-based Priority Access Licenses (PALs) (a whopping 22,631 of them) in the 3550-3650 MHz 93.5 GHz) band. It is the most-ever flexible-use licenses available in a single auction. There are 271 qualified bidders.  

Sasha Javid, COO of BitPath and former top FCC auction official, says that questions the auction should answer include whether "new developments in the C-band proceeding" [the other midband spectrum on the auction block this year] will impact bidding during the course of this auction...particularly if bidding in this auction is extended?" and how much bidders like Chevron and Deere & Company) will be willing to pay for spectrum to create their own wireless networks. 

The licenses are subject to network build-out conditions and there is an opportunity for sale or lease on the secondary market, according to the CBRS Alliance. 

According to an alliance economic analysis from the alliance, the CBRS spectrum represents $80 billion-plus in economic value. 

According to the FCC the rounds will remain three per day, each 1.5 hours. 

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.