Wheeler Declares Auction a Success as Bids Exceed $18B


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auction gavel (4)Bidding in Wednesday’s two rounds of the FCC’s incentive auction satisfied the requirements of the so-called “Final Stage Rule,” meaning the auction will successfully end in Stage four, the Commission announced. Bidding is slated to continue today and beyond until there is no excess demand in any market.

Wireless participants raised their bids to a total of just over $18 billion ($18,208,164,087) and $1.2570 per POP, according to the FCC’s spectrum auction dashboard.

“Reaching the Final Stage Rule means the benefits of the auction are indisputable,” said outgoing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “We will repurpose 70 MHz of high-value, completely clear low-band spectrum for mobile broadband on a nationwide basis. On top of that, 14 MHz of new unlicensed spectrum – the test bed for wireless innovation – will be available for consumer devices and new services.” 

A total of about $10.05 billion will go to broadcast television owners who gave up their spectrum and the rest of the proceeds will go towards deficit reduction, according to Wheeler.     

Following the close of the clock auction, the Commission will conduct an assignment phase where winning wireless bidders may bid for specific blocks of spectrum.

Wheeler said his successor and the new Commission will oversee the post-auction transition of moving broadcasters to their new channels as television spectrum is repacked and bringing the new wireless and unlicensed spectrum to market.  

NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton said, “NAB looks forward to the close of the incentive auction, and to working with the FCC and Congress to develop a repacking plan and transition schedule that protects viewers and avoids service disruptions.”

January 19, 2017

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