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FCC High-Band Auction Pushes Past $5 Billion

As the FCC prepares to suspend its high-band,so-called "spectrum frontiers," spectrum auction (auction 103) for the holidays, bidders have pushed the gross take for the auction above $5 billion. That is after 24 rounds of bidding, which suspends Friday (Dec. 20) and restarts Monday, Jan. 6. 

The gross proceeds total so far is $5,360,806,992, with two more rounds to go before the break. 

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

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

The FCC did not say it would be increasing the number of rounds when the auction resumes, but did remind bidders to view announcements regularly for any bidding schedule changes. 

Currently the bidding has been robust, but if it slows, the FCC will likely increase the number of rounds and possibly shorten them to a half hour.

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.