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US spectrum auction tops $16bn

August 24th saw Round 15 of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) wireless spectrum auction, and typically add $650 million (575.8bn) per round as bidders upped their bids during the day to reach a total of $16.3 billion.

The FCC is now holding 3 bidding rounds per day and each saw a typical $400-$500 million added to the FCC’s pot.

But there’s a long way still to go. The FCC itself has to see bids top $88.4 billion to cover its costs and obligations to the owners of the spectrum that it has acquired (mostly old TV transmission spectrum). A total of 600 MHz is being auctioned, in batches of 10 MHz and spread over 428 areas.

If the total falls short – which few expect – the FCC will cut the amount of spectrum it is buying and then set up a second batch of auctions to cover the smaller suites of frequencies.

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