Whatever Happened to the Fcc’s Big Spectrum Auction?

Michael Giberson

If you, like me, were looking forward to the FCC’s auction of prime 700 MHz wireless spectrum — and frankly who wouldn’t be interested in seeing how the FCC’s new hierarchical package bidding rules worked out in the C-block auction — you may have noticed the distinct lack of news on the topic in the major press.

Jump to the FCC’s auction website, however, and you’ll see the auction action continues. Auction round 175 will start in about 30 minutes.

Only 13 new bids were received in round 174, with licenses still contested for places like Minot, ND and Salisbury, MD. Just about all of the major results are already resolved, except that technically all auctions remain open until they all are ready to close. But C-block hasn’t seen a new bid since round 90. D-block, the spectrum loaded with public service obligations, received a single bid back in round 1.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. The FCC has ramped up the pace to 10 rounds per day, and an industry analyst was quoted by Reuters as saying the auction should be wrapped up within a week.