FCC wireless auction could lead to major broadband expansion

The federal government is promised nearly $14 billion by more than 100 bidders in what was the world's most profitable auction for publicly owned spectrums.

For consumers, the result of the 28-day FCC auction is likely to be better mobile phone reception in many areas of the United States and a host of new broadband services, including live video broadcasting.

Analysts predict the auction will drive a wider deployment of third generation, or “3G,” mobile services, which could include wireless high-speed Internet connections and entertainment services. Users should expect to feel the impact of the auction within a year and a half.

A total of 104 bidders bid on 1087 FCC licenses to use the spectrums. The commission said about half the bidders qualified as small businesses.

T-Mobile acquired the most spectrums, bidding $4.2 billion for 102 licenses; in second place was Verizon's Cellco Partnership; and in third place was Spectrum, a consortium of cable companies including Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Comcast and Bright House Networks.

The cable operators have denied they want the spectrum in order to enter the mobile telephony business. It is expected that they will eventually launch wireless Internet services.