AWS-3 Auction Revenues Top $40B (12/4/14)
Thursday, December 04, 2014 | Comments

Bids for the FCC’s Advanced Wireless Services (AWS)-3 spectrum auction passed the $40 billion mark, doubling or tripling most analysts’ estimates.

“It is important to note that some of the revenues from this auction will be directed toward essential technology improvements for public safety,” said Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) CEO Scott Belcher.

The AWS-3 auction proceeds will fully fund the $7 billion authorized by Congress toward the construction of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), the new national public safety broadband network, as well as provide $115 million for next-generation 9-1-1 implementation grants and $300 million for public-safety communications research and development (R&D).

“Communications-related R&D funding — and spectrum research in particular — is the ‘seed corn’ that will enable future auctions to be successful,” Belcher said. “To ensure that scarce spectrum resources are used more effectively and that the Treasury will continue to benefit from spectrum auction revenues, we urge Congress to ensure that a portion of proceeds from all future auctions be devoted to R&D.”

The AWS-3 includes 65 megahertz of spectrum in the 1.695 – 1.71, 1.755 – 1.78, 2.155 – 2.18 and 2.02 – 2.025 GHz bands. Two of the bands (1.695 – 1.71 GHz and 1.755 – 1.78) are used by the federal government and will need to be shared with those incumbents, at least for an initial period.

A portion of the revenue from the auction will pay for relocation of Department of Defense (DoD) systems in the band. DoD’s cooperation in relocating its systems was instrumental in making the spectrum available for commercial use.

The bidding could go on for several weeks. Bidding continues until there are no bids or waivers in a round. The H block auction, conducted earlier this year, lasted about a month.

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