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FCC Starts 5G Mid-Band Spectrum Auction

FCC seal
(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened bidding on July 29 in its latest mid-band spectrum auction to support next generation wireless services – including 5G.  

“We all know there are gaps in 5G coverage, especially in rural America, and this auction is a unique opportunity to fill them in,” said FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

Auction 108 makes available 8,017 new flexible-use, county-based overlay licenses in the 2.5 GHz band.  These licenses are in areas with unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum—mostly rural parts of the country—following the disposition of applications filed in the Rural Tribal Priority Window, which has to date resulted in the grant of 335 licenses to serve Tribal communities.

Auction 108, which started at 10am ET on Friday, July 29, utilizes a “clock-1” auction format.  This format is similar to the clock phase of past FCC auctions, but rather than offering multiple generic spectrum blocks in a category in a geographic area, it will offer only a single frequency-specific license in a category in a county. 

The new flexible-use geographic overlay licenses in the 2.5 GHz band (2496-2690 MHz) must protect the operations of incumbent licensees within the auctioned areas, including any licensees that receive their licenses through applications filed in the Rural Tribal Priority Window. 

People can follow what is happening with Auction 108 at: www.fcc.gov/auction/108 (opens in new tab). 

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.