600MHz auction officially ends with $19.77 billion in bids
The FCC’s 600MHz spectrum auction is officially over and has amassed bids totaling $19.77 billion, far short of initial expectations. The result is that 84MHz of television-use spectrum will be vacated by broadcasters electing to sell their airspace and then converted into 70MHz of cellular spectrum. Auction winners will not be known for another two weeks or so, but word is that AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Comcast all put in offers.
ISPs broke the cumulative bid target of $10 billion in late January. The starting round of proposals and bidding brought about a $85.4 billion clearing target for more than 120MHz of spectrum.
The cellular industry is urging stations to quickly dispense with their operations so that towers can take advantage of the new spectrum — T-Mobile thinks it could have 600MHz activated by the end of the year. The Competitive Carriers association stated that any delay would “have an adverse impact on deployment of rural broadband services, jobs, education, healthcare, and the ability of the United States to compete in a global economy.” However, the National Association of Broadcasters is biting back, saying that the FCC’s 39-month timeline for total conversion gives them an “arbitrary and unfounded” deadline to execute actions without room for error.