Thursday, June 1, 2006

FCC Concludes Air-to-Ground Auction, Two Winning Bidders

The FCC concluded its auction of two nationwide Air-Ground spectrum licenses in the 800 MHz band. The winning bidders for the two licenses were AC BidCo and LiveTV (a unit of JetBlue).

The spectrum that was auctioned is currently used by Verizon Airfone to provide seat-back telephone service. However, Airfone's non-renewable license expires in May 2010 and, within two years of the grant of the new Air-Ground licenses, the company must cease operations in the three MHz of the band corresponding to License C, thereby allowing the new licensee to begin providing service to the public. Airfone may continue to operate in the remaining one MHz of the band (corresponding to License D) until its license expires in 2010.

The three MHz C block license was won by AC BidCo LLC with a bid of $31.3 million, and the one MHz D block license was won by LiveTV LLC with a bid of $7 million.

The four MHz of Air-Ground spectrum in the 800 MHz band can be used to provide a range of communications services to passengers on commercial and other aircraft, including broadband Internet access.


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