FCC Boosts Pace of Spectrum Auction

The FCC is looking to light a fire under bidders in its high-band "spectrum frontiers" auction.

Starting Friday (Jan. 10), the FCC will increase the number of rounds from three per day to five, and cut the time from an hour to a half-hour per round.

After 34 rounds, auction 103 has generated ^,518,796,256 in gross bids among 35 qualified bidders.

They are competing for a whopping 3,400 MHz of millimeter-wave spectrum (in the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands), the most spectrum the FCC has ever offered in an auction of any type. The spectrum can be used for both fixed and mobile broadband and is being auctioned in 100 MHz blocks in partial economic areas (PEAs).

After the initial auction, there will be a follow-on auction among any of the license winners who want specific frequencies.

The most recent high-band ("spectrum frontiers" branded) auction, which ended last May raised $2,024,268,941 in gross proceeds after 91 rounds, but that was for approximately 700 MHz.

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.