After several rounds of back and forth between the broadcasters and bidders, the FCC’s 600MHz incentive auction is finally moving forward.
The FCC today confirmed that with today’s rounds in the forward auction, the requirements of the Final Stage Rule has been met. That means that the auction will come to an end in Stage 4. The auction proceeds as of the second bidding round are $18.2 billion, surpassing the $10 billion clearing cost for Stage 4.
Now that the Final Stage Rule has been met, bidding will continue in Stage 4 until there’s no longer any excess demand in any market. The FCC will then allow winning bidders to bid for specific blocks.
Unfortunately, no details on the auction have been released, so much of the bidder information is still up in the air.
Here’s what FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had to say about today’s news:
“The world’s first spectrum incentive auction has delivered on its ambitious promise. Reaching the Final Stage Rule means the benefits of the auction are indisputable. 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. The auction will provide $10.05 billion to broadcast television licensees who participated and billions towards deficit reduction.
“There is still a long road ahead to successfully implement the post-auction transition of broadcast stations to their new channels and bring the new wireless and unlicensed spectrum to market. This will be an extremely important task for my successor and the new Commission; I wish them well.”
We’re still going to be waiting a bit before T-Mobile or anyone else bidding in this auction actually begins deploying these 600MHz airwaves for consumer use, but it is good to finally see this auction making some progress.