FCC 3.45-GHz Auction Bidding Is Halfway to Success

A gavel on top of a stack of money
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After 30 rounds of bidding in the Federal Communications Commission‘s 3.45-Gigahertz midband spectrum auction, the aggregate total — $7,706,005,000 — is over halfway to meeting the agency‘s reserve price of $14,775,354,330.

The auction launched Oct. 5.

The FCC increased the number of rounds to five per day on Friday (Oct. 15), and over the past three rounds, the aggregate bids have increased by over $1 billion per round, well above the previous pace.

Only four days ago, the bidding had just nudged above $3 billion.

Also Read: FCC Opens Up 3.45 GHz Band

The FCC is auctioning flexible licenses for 100 MHz of contiguous spectrum in the 3.45-GHz band. The spectrum is being shared with the Department of Defense, which identified the 100 MHz it said it could share so long as there were interference protections in place.

The spectrum can be used for either fixed or mobile service, with the exception of aeronautical mobile. Licenses are renewable with initial license periods of no more than 15 years. Winning bidders have benchmarks for building out service to a set percentage of users. For example, for service to internet of things [IoT] devices, service must be available within four years to 35% of the license area, and 65% within eight years. Missing that first benchmark reduces a license term by one year. Missing the second means automatic termination of the license and no chance to get it back.

The FCC is auctioning the 100 MHz spectrum in blocks of 10 MHz, with a 40-MHz limit on how much spectrum any one bidder can acquire in a single area.

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.