FCC spectrum auction drawing to a close
Auction raises $19.6B, far exceeding goal
Computerworld - After nearly eight weeks and more than 240 rounds of bidding, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's auction of 700-MHz wireless spectrum is drawing to a close and could wrap up this week.
As of noon today, the auction had raised nearly $19.6 billion for the federal treasury, far exceeding the hopes of many in Congress and the FCC that the auction could raise at least $10 billion.
The auction will officially end when no more bids are placed in any rounds, the FCC has said. In Round 240, held shortly after noon today, only five new bids were placed on 1,099 licenses, raising the total of the provisional bids by $83,000, according to the FCC's public site.
In contrast, in early rounds after the start of bidding on Jan. 24, hundreds of bids were made in each round.
The FCC today raised the number of bidding rounds to 14 per day, each lasting only 10 minutes, which is a typical sign that an auction is nearing its end, FCC officials said.
Blair Levin, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. in Washington, said that based on action in bids, the auction could end in a matter of days, even this week.
In terms of the total dollars collected, FCC officials consider the auction a success.
However, the biggest disappointment came in the public safety D block to create a band of spectrum to be used by the private sector and turned over to first responders and others during large emergencies. No bidder has come forward to make the minimum $519 million bid, and just one, for $472 million, was made in the first round.
Levin called the lack of D-block bidding the auction's "most significant difficulty" but praised the underlying concept of having a two-part use of spectrum for private and public interests. "It's a legitimate idea ... but difficult to implement, and no one was willing to come forward," he said.
Bidding on C-block licenses attracted the most attention when a $4.7 billion bid was placed Jan. 31 on a national C-block license, exceeding the minimum bid amount.
That move was significant because it meant that FCC rules about open networks and open access would apply to the new spectrum for the spectrum owner. In subsequent rounds, bidders made individual bids on the 12 bands within the C block to exceed the total combined bid.
Levin speculated that the winner of most or all of the 12 bands in the C block was Verizon Wireless, based on the bidding patterns and statements made by bidders before the auction started. The bidders are prohibited from speaking publicly about the auction while it is under way.
Google Inc., which had been a big proponent of open access, said it expected to bid in the auction, and it was probably the first to push the C block over the minimum bid, if only to make sure open-access rules would apply to the C block, Levin said.
With the C block, there are still many questions about openness. If one company does not control all 12 blocks, it could mean different rules for openness would apply to customers, Levin and others have said. "There are still a lot of question marks," he said.
Winners and the FCC are expected to comment once the auction is finished.
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- 18 Hot IT Certifications for 2014
- CIOs Opting for IT Contractors Over Hiring Full-Time Staff
- 12 Best Free iOS 7 Holiday Shopping Apps
- For CMOs Big Data Can Lead to Big Profits
- Slideshow: 5 ways to lock down your mobile device
- Slideshow: 10 mistakes companies make after a data breach
- How to rob a bank: A social engineering walk through
- Which smartphone is the most secure?
If you like your iPhone, you can keep your iPhone. Period.
President Obama has revealed that he's not permitted to carry an iPhone. It's too insecure for the job, he says. Instead, he's stuck with a BlackBerry. Well, someone's got to have one still. However, it turns out that the Pentagon has also outlawed non-BlackBerry smartphones. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers joke that 2006 called and they want their smartphones back.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Mitigating DDoS Attacks with F5 Technology
- This document examines various DDoS attack methods and the application of specific ADC technologies to block attacks in the DDoS threat spectrum while...
- The DDoS Threat Spectrum
- Bolstered by favorable economics, today's global botnets are using distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to target firewalls, web services, and applications, often simultaneously.
- Defending Against Denial of Service Attacks
- By utilizing end-user interviews, this whitepaper explores a deeper understanding of DDoS defense plans and reveals the knowledge gaps around the Denial of...
- Strategic Solutions for Government IT
- This paper outlines why F5 is the optimum partner to help achieve the levels of security, performance and availability that are vital to...
- Review: Box beats Dropbox - and all the rest - for business
- Box trumps Dropbox, Engyte, Citrix ShareFile, EMC Syncplicity, and OwnCloud with rich mix of file sync, file sharing, user management, deep reporting and... All Government IT White Papers
- Video: 5 Secrets To Scaling Enterprise Apps Watch this video to learn how to successfully scale enterprise apps>>
- Collaboration 2013: Where Mobility Meets Connectivity Mobility and collaboration are quickly converging and users are demanding more capabilities. It's no longer enough to enable file sharing. This Webcast dives...
- Modernizing SAP environments with minimum risk - a path to Big Data Hear from top IDC analyst, Richard Villars, about the path you can start taking now to enable your organization to get the benefits...
- The Power of the Citrix Mobility Solution, XenMobile Does everything become a smartphone? Or does the smartphone begin to do everything? How can we afford to support BYOD? Rather, how can...
- BYOD Happens: How to Secure Mobility How to navigate the journey of securing mobility, including the BYOD corruption of IT, the top ten mobility strategies, and the mobility management...
- All Government IT Webcasts
Does your organization offer extensive benefits, cool perks, competitive salaries, opportunities for training and advancement? Then get it recognized!
Nominate your company or another deserving organization for Computerworld's 2014 Best Places to Work in IT list now through Dec. 12, 2013.