FCC is charged up and ready to go and with the intention of maintaining “America’s Global Leadership in Wireless,” will launch its long-awaited reverse auction today. In a statement issued Friday, the agency noted that the United States leads the world in key areas of wireless infrastructure and innovation, including being the first country to have 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology networks at scale and to enable unlicensed use of white space spectrum.” The FCC described the process as “An Innovative Auction to Repurpose Spectrum,” noting today “there are more connected devices than there are people living in the U.S., and about 70 percent of Americans use data-hungry Smartphones.”
“To meet this challenge, the FCC has worked to free up spectrum for wireless broadband use, removed regulatory and other barriers to the use of spectrum, and enabled more efficient use of spectrum in numerous innovative ways.” To meet the demand for spectrum this first-of-its-kind incentive auction, the FCC said, is “a means of repurposing spectrum by encouraging licensees to voluntarily relinquish spectrum usage rights in exchange for a share of the proceeds from an auction of new licenses to use the repurposed spectrum.”
The FCC hopes that by making valuable “low-band” airwaves available for wireless broadband, the incentive auction “will benefit consumers by easing congestion on wireless networks, laying the groundwork for fifth generation” (5G) wireless services and applications, and spurring job creation and economic growth.”
Key FCC documents establishing the rules and policies for the auction can be found on the Incentive Auction Resources page.
The Commission began accepting applications from broadcast stations on December 8, 2015, and is engaging in a variety of bidder education efforts designed to prepare participants for this first-of-its-kind auction. The site will provide access to all relevant information about the auction and will be updated as the auction approaches, throughout the auction itself, and during the post-auction transition period.