AWS-3 Auction Opens with $1.7 Billion in Bids

Could take financial pressure off 2016 broadcast incentive auction
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The FCC's AWS-3 (advanced wireless services) auction is underway. With the first round completed, the opening bids (1,679 of them for 1,012 licenses) totaled $1,767,350,800.

In the AWS-3 auction, 65 MHz of spectrum is up for bid, part of a congressional—and White House—mandate to free up wireless spectrum for mobile broadband.

It will be the largest amount of spectrum auctioned since the FCC's 2008 700 MHz auction.

AWS-3 will be the second of three spectrum auctions mandated by Congress to fund the FirstNet interoperable broadband network, as well as local first responders, advanced 911, R&D and deficit reduction.

The first auction, or H block spectrum, collected $1.564 billion toward that goal (FirstNet alone is $7 billion), but the FCC is already predicting that the AWS-3 auction will raise most if not all of that $7 billion, putting less pressure on the third auction, the broadcast incentive auction, scheduled for 2016.

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