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FCC's 600MHz Auction Tops $16B

Dan Jones

The bids are now flooding in for the 600MHz auction as bids hit $16.4 billion Wednesday evening and have passed an FCC limit.

After 15 rounds of bidding for 126MHz of available low-band 600MHz spectrum across the US, bids -- from up to 62 organizations -- now stand at $16,391,244,000. This satisfies the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's first "final stage rule" of passing the minimum bid total of $15,896,290,987.

The bar is set much higher than that for this auction. Through the reverse auction process, broadcasters on the 600MHz band have set a target of a whopping $88.4 billion to vacate the spectrum. That's nearly double what the AWS-3 auction, the largest spectrum auction in the US, raised in 2014 and 2015.

For more on the spectrum wars, visit the dedicated 4G/LTE content section right here on Light Reading.

You can keep track of the bidding totals here. The FCC will reveal the winning bidders after the auction process is finished, which could be as late as next year.

For more:

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
8/26/2016 | 5:50:50 PM
Not even Coase?
There is a lot of debate about how to set up these auctions. But rules that would pre-empt private ownership lead to inefficiency. Or at least that's the theorem of Ronald Coase (1991 Nobel in Economics). 
User Rank: Blogger
8/26/2016 | 1:56:22 PM
Re: Not even close
$$19.3B now!
User Rank: Moderator
8/25/2016 | 9:30:16 PM
Re: Not even close
@billsblot, it's air.  it's a public good.  Part 15 regulations have proven that with minimal intervention, spectrum can be easily shared.  The same goes for layer 1 in the wired network.

Bottom line is that we made big mistakes in 1913 and 1934 by creating arbitrary boundaries and monopolies out of public goods that are easily shared.
User Rank: Moderator
8/25/2016 | 2:40:18 PM
Re: Not even close
The electromagnetic spectrum in the United States is definitely a government asset for licensing and allocation as it sees fit.
User Rank: Moderator
8/25/2016 | 8:40:22 AM
Not even close
NOT EVEN CLOSE!  What were they thinking?  All the good stuff is gone.  There is hardly anything of real value left.

But that's what you get with the circus of this auction.  The first question is why on earth should the TV broadcasters be compensated for the spectrum when they still get spectrum for digitally compressed channels?

Second is, why do we even have auctions to begin with?  Just license spectrum and enforce sharing.  Then see what type of "tax on profits" should be applied if any at all.  After all spectrum and rights of ways are "public" not "government" goods.

Third, the result of all the prior auctions and allocations has resulted in lousy oligopoly service.  How sustainable is the model where the service provider charges $1 for service and provides only 30% of it?

The list goes on as regards wireless policy and auctions.

Just sayin that one logical fallacy layered on another ends up looking like this current auction.  Someone has to tell the emperor, nay the whole court, they have no clothes.
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