Round Nine: AWS-3 Auction Total Nears $6.5 Billion - Broadcasting & Cable

Round Nine: AWS-3 Auction Total Nears $6.5 Billion

Money continues to flow in for wireless spectrum freed up by FCC
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After nine rounds of the FCC's AWS-3 auction, bids totaled $6,435,467,100, or $925,136,600 more than in the previous round.

The bidding could go on for days, weeks or even months, with the pace usually leveling off after the early flurry—that flurry continued Monday. Bidding continues until nobody bids in a round or exercises a waiver, which means the bidder is passing but wants the chance to bid again.

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.

AWS-3 is 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, of 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.

If the FCC meets its reserves in the AWS-3 auction, it will more than cover that. The aggregate reserve for the 65 MHz is $10.587 billion—actually it is two separate reserves of $580 million and $10.007 billion.

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

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