28 GHz auction to resume as planned despite budget impasse

FCC headquarters
Bidding activity in Auction 101 continued to dwindle leading up to the holiday break. (Ser Amantio di Nicolao/CC BY-3.0)

The FCC says it will suspend most of its operations Jan. 3 if the federal government shutdown is not resolved before then; however, the 28 gigahertz spectrum auction, which was previously scheduled to resume Jan. 3, will go forward without interruption.

Bidding activity in Auction 101 continued to dwindle leading up to the holiday break. In round 88, the final round of bidding prior to the holidays, provisionally winning bids reached a combined total of $689,885,660. The total amount of money pledged by bidders increased $75,800 during round 88, representing a .01% increase in total provisionally winning bids.

The highest bid during round 88 went to Dubuque, Iowa, at $422,000, and the lowest bid of $2,300 went to Bosque, Texas. The FCC’s first auction of millimeter wave spectrum will end when a round of bidding closes with no new bids. The next round of bidding will resume Jan. 3 at 10 a.m. EST.

The total amount bid in Auction 101 has waned with each subsequent round of bidding. Round-to-round percentage increases have been less than 1% since the 49th round of bidding on Dec. 7. There were 22 new bids in round 88. If the current pattern holds, Auction 101 should be coming to a close very soon.

RELATED: The 28 GHz spectrum auction could end soon

In the event of a continued impasse over federal government funding, the FCC plans to halt many operations in the middle of the day on Jan. 3, giving employees up to four hours to complete an orderly shutdown. The agency says work required for the protection of life and property will continue, and the Office of Inspector General will also continue operations until further notice.

A public notice detailing the effects of the suspended operations (PDF) has been posted to the FCC’s site. Suspended activities include consumer complaint and inquiry phone lines, consumer protection and local competition enforcement, licensing services, radio spectrum management and new equipment authorizations.

The FCC expects 1,442 employees to help with the partial suspension of activities. The FCC chairman, three commissioners and up to 200 employees will continue working, because their compensation is financed outside of annual appropriations. All employees will be expected to return to work on the next scheduled work day after the furlough ends.