FCC Gooses 3.45-GHz Auction

FCC seal
(Image credit: FCC)

With bids only increasing by a few tens of millions of dollars per round, the Federal Communications Commission has decided to goose the 3.45-GHz midband spectrum auction.

Currently, there are five, 30-minute rounds per day, but the FCC signaled Friday that it was ramping that up, big time.

Starting Tuesday (Nov. 2), there will be seven rounds per day, 20 minutes each.

The FCC made no announcement of the change, simply showing the new schedule on its auction dashboard.

After round 75 Friday, there was $21,097,657,532 in gross bids, a figure that nets out at slightly less due to bidding credits.

Three weeks ago, the FCC went from three, hour rounds per day to five, 20 minute rounds.

The FCC is auctioning 4,060  flexible-use licenses that it expects to be used for 5G, though they can be used for virtually any fixed or mobile broadband service. Licenses are renewable for terms of no more than 15 years. There is a 40 MHz limit on how much any one bidder can acquire in a single area.

The Department of Defense identified the 100 MHz of spectrum it was willing to give up/share so long as its operations--radar for example--are protected from interference.

The auction launched Oct. 5 under a congressional mandate to auction the spectrum by year's end.

Earlier this week the auction became the third-highest in aggregate gross bids in FCC history.

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.