FCC: 700 MHz Auction to raise more than any other

After 23 rounds of bidding, the 700 MHz auction has brought in nearly $17 billion in provisionally winning bids, a total that exceeded FCC expectations. Originally, the FCC expected total winning bids to fall between $10 billion and $15 billion. The commission needed to ensure that the auction raised at least $10 billion because Congress had already allocated that much of the proceeds from the auction. The $6.9 billion (and counting) leftover is profit for the Treasury Department.

"It will probably exceed any other auction that we have had in the past," FCC chairman Kevin Martin said at a press conference yesterday.

During the 17th round yesterday morning, the C Block of spectrum met its reserve price of $4.6 billion with a bid that topped $4.7 billion. Meeting that target ensured that the open access provisions on the block will go into effect. The D Block, however, continues to languish with only one $472 million bid from the first round of bidding last week. The question remains: Now that the FCC has met and exceeded its overall reserve price for the auction, will the D Block have to meet its $1.33 billion reserve price? Or did one bidder get an incredible deal?

For more on the auction:
- read our continuously updated coverage here
- also read this interview with Skype's Chris Libertelli about the auction results