Updated: FCC Sets Ground Rules for 700 MHz Auction

By Deborah McAdams and Brian Dolan

Google: Never said we wouldn't bid

Update: Following today's FCC meeting, Google's senior counsel Richard Whitt made it clear Google has not decided to sit this auction out. Whitt notes that the company never said it would not bid if its four openness rules were not adopted for the C Block of the spectrum auction. Google just said that it would bid if they were! Whitt, however, cautioned that the company needs to review the details of the FCC's plan once they come out in full during the course of the next few weeks before the company can make any definitive decisions.

The FCC Meeting

The FCC 700 MHz Auction Rules were unanimously approved today, with a partial dissent from Commissioner Robert McDowell, who felt the open access requirement would drive the big companies into auctions intended for smaller companies. Below are some of the details of the rules as described at today's FCC meeting:

    • GEOGRAPHIC: For spectrum designated CMA (Cellular Market Areas) and EA (Economic Areas), licensees must provide service to 35 percent of the geographic area of their license within four years; 70 percent by the end of the 10-year license term.
    • POPULATION: For spectrum designated REAG (Regional Economic Area Grouping), licensees must provide service to 40 percent of the population of their license areas within four years; 75 percent by the end of the 10-year license term.
    • FAILURE: If licensee fails to meet benchmarks, the license term is reduced to eight years and end terms accelerated.
    • RE-AUCTION: If end terms are not achieved, the license automatically reclaims the unserved portion of the license area for re-auction.
    • PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP: Provides for public-private partnership on national first responder communications network.
    • First responders have first right of refusal if partnership fails.
    • 22 MHz: the C block in the upper band, will be subject to open access rules.
    • DEVICE/APPLICATION AGNOSTIC: Would allow people to use the "handset" and applications of their choice on the network created in the upper C block, subject to network management and security concerns.
    • BLIND BIDDING: Bidders will be allowed to remain anonymous, and information indicating their interest, intentions and the spectrum they're bidding on is withheld until after the auction is closed.
    • PACKAGE BIDDING: Allowed in upper C block for bidders looking to create a nationwide network.
    • $4.6 billion: Upper C block.
    • No other reserve prices were revealed at the meeting.
    • NONE

Sponsored by ADI

What if we were never truly alone? Our next-gen communications technology can help people in even the most remote places stay connected.

What if there were no ocean, desert, mountain or event that could ever keep us from telling our stories, sharing discoveries or asking for help? ADI’s next-gen communications technology could keep all of us connected.

Suggested Articles

AT&T has shifted its Cricket prepaid brand to a 100% authorized retailer model, according to Wave7 Research.

The FCC decided to extend the timeline for responding to Huawei's application for review until December 11.

All operators are trying to understand the intersection between their networks and hyperscale networks. But who gets the lion's share of the revenue?