The winners of the coveted 700MHz spectrum are waiting in the wings.
Bidding in the FCC's 700MHz auction closed March 18 after the auction raised
a record $19.6 billion over 261 bidding rounds. The winners of the spectrum
have not been disclosed as yet by the Federal Communications Commission.
The results of this single spectrum auction surpass the $19.1 billion combined total raised by the FCC
in 68 other auctions over the last 15 years. The proceeds will be transferred
to the U.S. Treasury by June 30, earmarked to support public safety and digital
television transition initiatives.
The spectrum auction is part of the transition to digital television that
will culminate in all television signals switching from analog to digital on Feb. 17, 2009.
Bidding for the so-called beachfront spectrum in the C block closed at $6.5
billion, almost $2 billion more than the minimum threshold bid of $4.6 billion.
The airwaves are considered particularly well-suited for broadband because the
signal properties can travel great distances and penetrate mountains, buildings
The FCC also placed conditions on the sale of the C block spectrum,
requiring the winning bidder to build an open network to which users can
connect any legal device and run the software of their choice.
The spectrum auction process is disputed. Read more here.
Before the auction began in January, Google committed to meeting the minimum
bid in the C block. AT&T and Verizon were also interested in the spectrum.
Although the FCC did not say when the winner would be announced, the current
speculation is that the FCC will release the information by the end of March or
"The open platform will help foster innovation on the edge of the
network, while creating more choices and greater freedom for consumers to use
the wireless devices and applications of their choice," FCC Chairman Kevin
Martin said in a statement. "A network more open to devices and
applications can help ensure that the fruits of innovation on the edges of the
network swiftly pass into the hands of consumers."