700 MHz Auction: C Block meets its reserve, open access sticks

After a couple rounds of stalled bidding, the C Block's provisionally winning bid is now at $4.7 billion, about $100 million over the reserve price that the FCC set for the block of spectrum. Since the reserve price was met, the FCC will not have to re-auction the block and its special rules: open access for any device and any application will have to be implemented on the winning bidder's future 700 MHz network. If the price of the provisionally winning bid goes up in the next or subsequent rounds, then it is clear that there are more than one bidders for the C Block. It was possible up until this point that Google was bidding on the C Block to drive it up past the reserve price, in order to ensure the open access rules came to fruition.

As has been the case since the first round of bidding, bidders won't touch the D Block with a ten foot pole. The public-private network provision on the spectrum block, which requires the winning bidder to help public safety officials construct and operate a wireless network for homeland security, has only received on bid. The $472 million provisionally winning bid, however, is only about a third of the $1.33 billion reserve price that the FCC set for the D Block. The only chance the D Block has at this point is for the loser of the C Block (if there is more than one company bidding on it) to snap up the D Block as its consolation prize. -Brian

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