FCC has new plan to re-auction D-block spectrum

Late Friday, the FCC divulged a new proposal to re-auction D-block spectrum that failed to find a bidder during the 700 MHz auction held earlier this year. The new proposal will be discussed at the commission's Sept. 25 meeting.

During a conference call with reporters on Friday, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said the new plan will require a lower starting bid and ease the construction requirements that contributed to the failure of the original auction. The new auction will call for a starting bid of $750 million (roughly half of the $1.3 billion required the first time around) and it extends the construction period from 10 to 15 years. If no bidder comes forth for the entire block, companies will be able to bid on 58 separate regional licenses. The commission has considered and has developed approaches for allocating costs to various regions in the event a regional approach is used. It will not license spectrum on a regional basis unless at least 50 percent of the regional licenses are won.

The D-block spectrum, reserved for use in partnership between public and private companies, is intended to give cash-strapped public safety agencies access to the network in times of emergencies. This new proposal will certainly draw intense examination and debate between all the stakeholders, including public safety agencies, commercial operators, and new entrants that are interested in this resource.

For more:
- see this article in The Washington Post
- see this article in Broadcasting&Cable

Related stories:
Public safety looks to make D-block reauction enticing to commerical operators
FCC Chairman: D-block, AWS-3 auctions won't happen in 2008

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