Date set for 700MHz spectrum auction

August 27, 2007

The date for the 700MHz spectrum auction has been set for Jan. 16, 2008, by the FCC. The government expects the sale of the spectrum to raise at least $10 billion.

Often called the “last beachfront property” of American airwaves, the 700MHz band becomes available with the transition of television broadcasters from analog to digital transmissions in February 2009.

The FCC said the auction will offer a total of 1099 licenses: 176 licenses in the A Block, 734 in “Cellular Market Areas” or in the B Block, 176 in the E Block, 12 licenses in the C Block and one nationwide license to be used as part of the 700MHz Public/Private Partnership in the D Block.”

The commission also issued a public notice asking for comment on its proposed auction procedures including anonymous bidding, base prices for certain blocks and package bidding for certain licenses in the auction.

The deadline for the first round of comments is Aug. 31. Final reply comments are due by Sept. 7. Due to the high value of the spectrum, rules for the bidding and use of the spectrum have been controversial, pitting traditional wireless carriers against a new generation of wireless technology companies.

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