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FCC sets auction date for additional 700MHz spectrum

The FCC set the date of July 19, 2011, for a second auction of 700MHz frequencies that could help boost broadband access in the United States.

The commission is selling access to 16 licenses between 698MHz and 806MHz, grouped into a Block A of just two frequencies at the low end and a Block B that has the remaining licenses. The frequencies are likely to be used by AT&T and Verizon, both of whom won the majority of the 700MHz space in the 2008 auction that set the groundwork for most 4G in the United States.

Verizon is already using the spectrum for its just-launched LTE network and will be joined by AT&T in mid-2011.

The auction is part of a plan to open 500MHz of wireless spectrum for increased wireless broadband use. Potential speeds on cellular services are often dictated by the amount of available spectrum and thus the number of simultaneous users a carrier can handle in a given area.