FCC Closes In on $10 Billion Minimum for Spectrum Auction

[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
After 12 rounds of bidding in the FCC's 700 mHz auction, the FCC reached within striking distance of the $10 billion minimum it needs to raise for the federal treasury and various programs. The total bid on the five blocks of analog spectrum being reclaimed from TV broadcasters in the switch to digital was $8.659 billion. There was one new bid, $3,784 billion, on the so-called C block of spectrum, which can be used for a national wireless network. That pushed the FCC's minimum bid for the next round to $4.294 billion, close to the $4.6 billion that the commission says it must get. Failing to draw a new bid for the tenth round was the D block. That spectrum also can be used for a national network, but it must be shared with first responders and turned over to them in times of emergency. House Telecom Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) on Tuesday called the lack of a bidder discouraging, and said during a Hill hearing that if the D block failed to reach its minimum bid--$1.3 billion--the committee would step in.

* Wireless auction concerns rise as some airwaves languish
[SOURCE: Reuters, AUTHOR: Peter Kaplan]
Bidding remained stalled Tuesday on a key piece of spectrum in the U.S. government's wireless airwaves auction, prompting concern regulators will have to modify rules requiring some of it be shared with public safety agencies. After 12 rounds of bidding over four days, the Federal Communications Commission still has received only one bid for a portion of the 700-megahertz airwaves known as the "D" block, that could also be used by police, firefighters and other public safety officials. The lone $472 million bid for the D block spectrum, which came in the first round of the auction last Thursday, is far below the $1.3 billion minimum price set by the FCC. A lack of bidders for the D block could be a reflection of the credit crunch that has hurt the ability of companies to raise capital, according to industry analysts. Under rules adopted by the FCC, the winner of the D block airwaves will be required to negotiate an agreement with public safety agencies, build out a nationwide network and then give those agencies priority use during emergencies. If no bidder meets the minimum price for the D block, the FCC can re-auction that piece of the spectrum and possibly modify the requirements.



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