The FCC's C-Band auction has just broken the record for gross bid total in an FCC spectrum auction, and not even two weeks into the proceedings.
After round 37, the gross bid total was $46,515,515,507, up over $3 billion in gross bids over the previous round's $43,154,376,070 and up almost $13 billion over the past four rounds.
The FCC's 2014 AWS-3 auction, the previous record holder, closed with $44,899,451,600 in gross proceeds.
Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell predicted earlier in the day that the auction could end the week--which would be early Wednesday due to the holiday schedule--at $50 billion in bids, which would actually be low if the current $3 billion per round increases continued.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has predicted the auction would be one of the FCC's most important moves to advance 5G wireless broadband.
The C-Band auction is making 280 MHz of midband--5G sweet spot--satellite spectrum available for terrestrial mobile broadband.
The FCC voted last February to free up 300 MHz of the C-Band for 5G, 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 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.