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FCC To Try Again For 700 MHz Network

Mon, 09/08/2008 - 8:10am
Evan Koblentz, Wireless Week

The FCC later this month may try again to sell its 700 MHz licenses for a national public safety network.

The original auction, in which the winner would be required to build a network and give free access to emergency responders, saw no bids came close to the FCC’s $1.3 billion reserve price.  Reactions were widespread, from claims of impropriety to alternative plans to detailed analysis of the proposed safety network’s prospects for success.

In the new plan, the FCC would run simultaneous auctions.  The first would be for the whole D-block at a lower reserve price of $750 million, while the second would be for 58 regional licenses, used for either LTE or mobile WiMAX.  If the regional bidders collectively offer more money than any nationwide bidders, then those companies would advance to a second round, in which the spectrum would be allocated for LTE or mobile WiMAX based on which kinds of bids raise more money or cover more of the nation’s population.

It’s unclear what would happen if one technology’s bidders raise more money but the other technology’s bidders serve a greater population.

However, FCC officials noted that the goal is to get the spectrum into the market – not to raise the most money.

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