Monday, April 17, 2017

FCC Auction Draws $19.8B for 70MHz of Repurposed Spectrum

The FCC's broadcast incentive auction, which concluded last week, attracted bids totalling $19.8 billion (gross revenue) for 70MHz of spectrum for nationwide mobile use.  This is among the highest grossing auctions ever conducted by the FCC.  More than $10 billion of this total will go to 175 broadcasters whose previously licensed spectrum was selected for the incentive
auction. Remaining funds go to the U.S. Treasury.

A total of 50 winning bidders won 70 MHz of licensed spectrum nationwide. A total of 14 MHz of spectrum is available for unlicensed use and wireless microphones. On a nationwide basis, 70 MHz is the most mobile broadband ever auctioned below 1GHz by the FCC. Among the largest winners were T-Mobile, Dish, Comcast, and US Cellular.

The Commission now commences a 39-month transition period to move broadcast stations to new channel assignments.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said, “The conclusion of the world’s first incentive auction is a major milestone in the FCC’s long history as steward of the nation’s airwaves. Consumers are the real beneficiaries, as broadcasters invest new resources in programming and service, and additional wireless spectrum opens the way to greater competition and innovation in the mobile broadband marketplace.”