Spectrum auction followers of both the forward and reverse sides weighed in Thursday after the spectrum incentive auction finally closed with the final bids in the follow-on assignment auction to divvy up specific frequencies.
"[The National Association of Broadcasters] congratulates the FCC on completing the incentive auction," said NAB executive VP of communications Dennis Wharton. "We are now eager to work with the Commission to ensure a smooth repacking transition that protects consumer access to local news, weather, community service and lifeline emergency programming. We look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with policymakers on a seamless transition for our tens of millions of TV viewers and radio listeners."
In a couple of weeks, the FCC will start the 39-month clock on repacking hundreds of TV stations so it can turn the auctioned spectrum over to the winning bidders.
Broadcasters in the reverse auction agreed to give up their spectrum—84 MHz worth—for $10 billion. On the other side of the auction, primarily wireless companies bid $19.8 billion in the forward auction for 70 MHz of that spectrum—the rest going to guard bands/unlicensed use.
"As we near the close of the FCC’s 600 MHz spectrum auction, CTIA’s member carriers are looking forward to putting to use the new spectrum that will be available for mobile broadband services," said Scott Bergmann, VP of regulatory affairs for CTIA, which represents those wireless carriers. "We now need to roll up our sleeves and work toward a smooth and timely transition that will allow wireless providers to deliver new services, meet consumer demand, and continue to drive economic growth.”