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700MHz auction hits record with $19.59B

Posted: 20 Mar 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:700MHz auction? FCC bidding? broadband?

The recently concluded 700MHz auction, which began in Jan. 24 and closed after 261 rounds of bidding, has raised a record $19.592 billion and helped advance new open platform policies.

According to a statement released by U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin, the $19.592 billion revenues raised in the 700 MHz auction the highest amount raised in any FCC auction.

Above expectations
The revenues billion generated by the auction also nearly doubled congressional estimates of $10.2 billion. All other 68 auctions conducted by the FCC in the past 15 years collectively generated a total of only $19.1 billion in receipts. The proceeds generated from the 700MHz auction will be transferred to the U.S. Treasury by June 30, and will be used to support public safety and DTV transition initiatives.

The statement also disclosed that the reserve prices for four of five spectrum blocks were met, and the gross provisionally winning bids secured on 1,090 licenses totaled approximately $19 billion. The eight unsold licenses in the blocks remain held by the FCC and will be made available for commercial bidding in a future auction.

In addition, the gross provisionally winning bids on the 12 licenses in the 22MHz Upper C Block totaled $4.75 billion, collectively exceeding the reserve price of $4.6 billion. The gross provisionally winning bids on the A, B, and E Block licenses also met their reserve prices with bids totaling $3.96 billion, $9.14 billion, and $1.27 billion, respectively. Total A, B, C, and E Block bids were more than twice the total of their reserve prices of $8.724 billion.

Open platform benefits
According to Martin, the auction provided an opportunity to have a significant effect on the next phase of wireless broadband innovation. The open platform requirements on one-third of the spectrum will allow consumers to use the wireless device of their choice on those networks. The open platform also will help foster innovation on the edge of the network, while creating more choices and greater freedom for consumers to use the wireless devices and applications of their choice. A more open network for devices and applications can also ensure that the fruits of innovation pass into the hands of consumers.

Meanhwhile, the 700MHz Upper D Block of spectrum, dedicated to the creation of a Public Safety/Private Partnership to create a nationwide, interoperable network, did not receive a bid that met the $1.3 billion reserve price. Martin said the FCC remains committed to ensure public safety's interoperability challenges and is now evaluating its options for this spectrum.

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