FCC Moves to Speed 3.45 GHz Auction

A communications tower in the clouds
(Image credit: John Lund via Getty Images)

The FCC has made its first move to speed up the 3.45 GHz midband spectrum auction.

On Tuesday (Oct. 12), the FCC signaled it is adding a fourth, one-hour, round per day to goose the process.

There had been three, hour rounds per, day.

After round 12, bids totaled $1,571,803,600. The auction launched Oct. 5 with a reserve price of $14,775,354,330. That is the bid total the FCC will need to close the auction successfully because it will cost about that much to clear the spectrum for use.

Also Read: FCC Opens 3.45 GHz Band for 5G flexibility

The Department of Defense is the primary user of the band for military systems (like key radar applications), but identified 100 MHz of the spectrum that it could share with commercial users so long as they protect against harmful interference.

The FCC is auctioning the 100 MHz spectrum in 10 MHz spectrum blocks--as commissioner Geoffrey Starks had advocated--with a 40 MHz limit on how much any one bidder can acquire in a single partial economic area (PEA). Cable operators had argued that using those larger PEAs would result in less than robust participation in the auction by competitors to the big telecoms and had asked the FCC to reconsider that proposal.

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.