Spectrum Auction Tops $3B

As of round 18, the FCC's high-band spectrum auction (auction 103) has blown past the $3 billion mark, now standing at 3,336,894,708. 

That is up by almost a billion dollars in the last four rounds. The total after 14 rounds was $2,440,540,340. 

Related: FCC Spectrum Auction Nears $1.5B 

The FCC is auctioning 3400 MHz of millimeter-wave spectrum (in the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands), more spectrum than it has ever auctioned at one time before, but with only 35 bidders vying for it (there were 38 bidders in the previous auction for less spectrum). 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 auction will suspend bidding for the holidays on Friday (Dec. 20) at 5 p.m. and resume on Monday, Jan. 6, at 10 a.m. 

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. 

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.