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Round 18: AWS-3 Bids Near $23 billion

The FCC's AWS-3 auction looks like it might not be a weeks-long affair. As of round 18, $22,829,069,200 had been bid, more than doubling the $10.587 reserve price. All the licenses have drawn at least one bid now, and there were a whopping 1,754 new bids.

Currently the Big Apple is drawing the big bucks. Current bid: $1,712,964,000. The low bid in the next round is over $2 billion.

The fact that all the licenses now have at least one bid signals increased interest in the 15 MHZ unpaired spectrum ($580 reserve). The 50 MHz paired spectrum has already blown past its $10.07 billion reserve.

The more money raised in the AWS-3 (advanced wireless services) auction, the less pressure there is on the broadcast incentive auction. For example, the $7 billion FirstNet interoperable emergency communications network appears to have been paid for, with plenty of money left over.

Also the more money raised in AWS-3, the more money from the broadcast incentive auction that can go to paying broadcasters and paying down the debt.

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.