FCC sets a date for 700 MHz

The FCC has set a date for the much anticipated 700 MHz auction: January 16, 2008. The auction has to be completed by January 28 next year. The spectrum is considered "beach front property" by industry pundits because of its ability to penetrate walls better than current spectrum used by mobile carriers. The auction should pull in around $10 billion or more in bids. Television stations currently use the spectrum block, but they are set to switch their stations over to digital broadcasting by 2009. The FCC is now seeking public comments on the auction, which is officially Auction 73, by the end of this month. 

Google and a coalition of other Silicon Valley companies and consumer groups lobbied the FCC to require the winning bidder of some of the spectrum to allow open access to any device, application and service as well as require the winning bidder to make spectrum available on a wholesale basis. The FCC denied the call for wholesaling, but did put a limited open access requirement on the upper C Block of spectrum. 

For more on the auction:
- read this article from IDG