At press time, the Federal Communications Commission had completed round 21 of its 700-megahertz spectrum auction, with the total now reaching $15.6 billion.
Congress required the FCC to return at least $10 billion to the treasury (it met that mark earlier in the day) from the auction, which consists of five blocks of spectrum reclaimed from broadcasters in the switch to digital.
The bid for the C-block national license remained at $4.713 billion, having topped its floor price of $4.6 billion. There was no new bid on the D-block national license, which must be shared with first-responders as a public-private network. That bid stood at $472 million, with no bids since a single first-round bid and far short of the $1.3 billion minimum price set by the FCC.
Estimates for the auction had ranged from $10 billion to as much as $20 billion-plus. Bidding resumes Friday morning.