Spectrum Auction Update: FCC Meets Floor Price for C Block

The Federal Communications Commission met its floor price for a block of 50-state wireless-spectrum licenses (the C block) that can be used for a new national network.

This means conditions that require the network to be open to outside devices and applications remain on the spectrum. Had it not met the minimum, the spectrum would have been reauctioned without those conditions.

Bidding was anonymous, but Google was one of those expected to bid on the block, if for no other reason than to make sure that it met the minimum and the spectrum retained the open-access conditions it favors.

At press time, the bidding in round 17 of the auction topped that $4.6 billion price (it stood at $4.713 billion, with the next round just getting underway).

In total, bids topped $12 billion, far above the $10 billion promised to Congress, but each of five blocks of spectrum must reach its minimum or be reauctioned.

Still with no new bids was another block of national licenses that must be shared with first-responders in times of national emergency. That bid was still stuck at $472 million with no bids since the auction's first day (Jan. 24) and at only one-third of its $1.3 billion floor price.

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.