Spectrum Auction Update: $3.7B in Bids; Done Until Monday

Federal Communications Commission Must Raise at Least $10B

With bidding over until Monday, the Federal Communications Commission's auction of spectrum in the 700-megahertz band has so far generated $3.7 billion in bids. In its most recent round -- No. 4 -- the dollar amount increased by a half-billion over the round-three total.

In the most recent round of (anonymous) bidding for five blocks of spectrum being reclaimed from TV broadcasters in the switch from analog to digital, bidding for what is essentially a national license (a package of spectrum covering all 50 states) pushed the price to $1.792 billion, although it must reach at least $4.6 billion, which is the minimum sale price or the spectrum gets reauctioned.

The FCC needs to make sure it raises at least $10 billion since some of the money has already been spent for the digital-TV-to-analog converter-box-coupon program and first-responder funding, with the rest promised to the treasury for deficit reduction.

There was still only one bid, and no new bid, for another national swath of spectrum that must be shared with first-responders. That bid price stands at $472 million, but it must bring three times that much, at least or it, too, will be reauctioned. The FCC lowered the floor bid for that spectrum again, to $522 million. It had previously been lowered from $531 million to $525 million.