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FCC begins 700MHz auction; no major bids

updated 03:15 pm EST, Thu January 24, 2008

700MHz Auction Begins

The Federal Communications Commission today began the highly anticipated auction for the 700MHz wireless spectrum. Divided into several blocks of airspace, the contest is widely believed to be responsible for future wide-area Internet airspace both across the US as a whole as well as for regional carriers. The rules of the auction prevent the FCC from detailing most of the process, though the regulatory body currently notes that bids so far have totaled $2.4 billion. This reveals that many of the larger players in the auction have yet to bid as the most coveted blocks of wireless space require a minimum $4.6 billion bid.

However, future rounds of bidding are known to include companies such as AT&T, Google, and Verizon, all of whom are likely to use any wireless frequencies won in the auction for new or extended cellular service. Google in particular is regarded as one of the chief motivators behind the auction and successfully established rules that require winners to allow any device and any software to run on a future network, preventing incumbents such as AT&T and Verizon from excluding competitive but otherwise compatible wireless handhelds. Google is rumored to be testing 700MHz access on a private network with phones using its Android mobile OS.

The bidding process is expected to take several weeks or more and will not have an immediate impact on the wireless landscape until February 2009, when the 700MHz band is dropped by analog TV and any winning bidders can begin using the airwaves for their own services.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. spotkat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Maybe a silly question

    ... but where does all that money go?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    $$$

    Into the treasury. The reason for these auctions is because congress found them to be great money-making exercises.

  1. psdenno

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I'd like to believe......

    ...part of it is coming to me in the form of the President's economic stimulus package of checks to all tax payers. I was wondering where he was going to get the 125 billion needed to fund it.

  1. michaelper22

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Where does DTV go?

    I knew about analog TV going down the tubes quite a while ago, but if the to-be-defunct 700 MHz waves won't be occupied, which frequencies will digital broadcasts be transmitted on?

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: dtv

    it goes over what the FCC calls the 'core' spectrum, the range from what we call channels 2 through 51. Channels 2 thru 6 occupy 44-88 MHz, 7 thru 13 occupy 174 thru 216 MHz, and 14 thru 51 occupy 471 MHz thru 693 MHz. Broadcasters still have 6 MHz of bandwidth, the FCC awarded them additional spectrum in the lower part of the old UHF band for HD television transmission (though they are free to use the additional bandwidth as they choose, for instance they could transmit 4 SD channels or 1 HD channel in the additional space).

    Digital TV transmission is more resistant to interference so the old FCC rule that most VHF stations had to be separated by one unused channel is abolished for digital TV, this of course creates more efficient use of the spectrum.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: i'd like...

    I was wondering where he was going to get the 125 billion needed to fund it.

    Actually, considering they're calling these things 'rebate' checks, I wouldn't be surprised to find they'll pay for it just like the last 'rebate' check. Treat it as an advance on next year's taxes.

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