With gross bids inching up only $20 million or $30 million per round after several-billion-dollars per round during the height of the C-band spectrum auction bidding, the FCC is taking steps get bidders to the finish line.
Starting Wednesday (Jan. 13), the FCC will increase the number of rounds from five per day to seven, and shorten the rounds from a half hour to 20 minutes, if the auction lasts that long.
As of the most recent round (72), the total in gross proceeds was $80,710,805,702, versus $80,683,309,702 in round 71. In the past dozen rounds, the total has only risen by about $600 million.
The auction has already almost doubled the record gross proceeds for an FCC spectrum auction (the 2014 AWS-13 auction's $44,899,451,600) and is at the upper limits of the loftiest pre-auction estimates of the vaule of the spectrum of something north of $75 billion.
The auction launched Dec. 8.
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.
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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.