United States 2008 wireless spectrum auction

United States 2008 wireless spectrum auction

The United States 700 MHz FCC wireless spectrum auction was started by the FCC on January 24, 2008 for the rights to operate the 700 MHz frequency band in the United States. The details of process were the subject of debate between several telecommunications companies, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and startup Frontline Wireless, as well as the internet company Google. Much of the debate swirled around the "open access" requirements set down by the Second Report and Order released by the FCC determining the process and rules for the auction. All bidding must be commenced by January 28 by law. The auction was named Auction 73. [cite press release
publisher = FCC
date = 2007-08-17
url = http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-07-3415A1.pdf
accessdate = 2007-09-10


The last transmissions by the incumbent television broadcasters using this spectrum are expected to cease by February 17, 2009 except for LPTV (Low Power TV) stations, which can stay on the air with an analog signal until the winning bidders start operations. Full power TV stations must cease analog broadcasting by February 17, 2009.

;Original Usage The 700 MHz spectrum was previously used for analog television broadcasting, specifically UHF channels 52 through 69. The FCC has ruled that the impending switch to digital television will make these frequencies no longer necessary for broadcasters, due to the improved spectral efficiency of digital broadcasts. [ [http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=about&id=lower700 wireless.fcc.gov FCC] on "Lower 700 MHz"] Thus, all broadcasters will be required to move to channels 2 through 51 as part of the digital TV transition. This reallocation is an ongoing effort; the lower channels of the band, 52 through 59, have been used considerably more for analog and digital broadcasts than the upper channels, 60 through 69, which have been largely abandoned.

Some of the 700 MHz spectrum was already auctioned in Auctions 44 and 49. Channels 54, 55 and 59 were sold and in some areas are already being used for broadcasting and Internet access. For example Qualcomm MediaFLO in 2007 started using Channel 55 for broadcasting TV to cell phones in New York City, and San Diego and elsewhere. [ [http://www.qualcomm.com/press/releases/2008/080417_Live_TV_Debuts_on_Verizon_Wireless_Cell_Phones_in_San_Diego.html MediaFlo live TV] press release]

Google involvement

Early in the bid, Google asked that the spectrum be free to lease wholesale and the devices operating under the spectrum be open. Currently many providers such as Verizon and AT&T use technological measures to block external applications. In return Google guaranteed a minimum bid of $4.6 billion. [ [http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/pressrel/20070720_wireless.html Google Press Center: Press Release ] ]

The FCC ruled partially in favor of Google's requests. [ [http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2164661,00.asp New FCC Spectrum Rules Win Google's Nod] ] Only two of the four requirements were put in place. Google had wanted the purchaser to allow 'rental' of the blocks to different providers.


After the open access rules were implemented, Verizon Wireless filed suit against the FCC on September 13, 2007, seeking to have the rules dismissed on the grounds that the open access requirement "violates the U.S. Constitution, violates the Administrative Procedures Act … and is arbitrary, capricious, unsupported by the substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law." [ [http://www.rcrnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070913/FREE/70913010/1005/rss01 Verizon lawsuit] ] On October 23, Verizon chose to drop the lawsuit after losing its appeal for a speedy resolution on October 3. However, the CTIA stepped in to challenge the same regulations in a lawsuit filed the same day. [ [http://www.rcrnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071023/FREE/71023006/1007/rss01 CTIA steps in] ]


The auction divided UHF spectrum into 5 blocks:
* Block A: 12 MHz bandwidth (698–704 and 728–734 MHz)
* Block B: 12 MHz bandwidth (704–710 and 734–740 MHz)
* Block C: 22 MHz bandwidth (746–757 and 776–787 MHz)
* Block D: 10 MHz bandwidth (758–763 and 788–793 MHz)
* Block E: 6 MHz bandwidth (722–728 MHz)

The FCC placed very detailed rules about the process of this auction of the 698–806 MHz part of the wireless spectrum. Bids were anonymous and designed to promote competition. The aggregate reserve price for all Block C licenses was approximately $4.6 billion.http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-132A1.pdf] The aggregate reserve price for all 5 blocks being auctioned in Auction 73 was just over $10 billion. Block D of the spectrum, which did not meet its reserve bidding price among some controversy, [ [http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Ethical-Concerns-Swirl-Around-D-Block-Spectrum-Auction/ Ethical Concerns Swirl Around D Block Spectrum Auction] ] will be used for a national public safety network. [http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/data/bandplans/700MHzBandPlan.pdf wireless.fcc.gov] – 700MHzBandPlan]

Auction 73 ended with the highly publicized open access C-Block going for $4.74 billion to Verizon. [http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSN2042023420080320?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews Verizon and AT&T dominate airwaves auction | Technology | Reuters ] ] The entire auction raised $19.592 billion. [http://www.rcrnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080318/FREE/903677601/1005 IT’S OVER: 700 MHz auction ends after 38 days, 261 rounds - RCR Wireless News ] ]

See also

* Open Communication
* Spectrum auction
* Federal Communications Commission
* Electromagnetic spectrum
* GSM frequency bands
* UMTS frequency bands
* IEEE 802.22


External links

* http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070815-700mhz-auction-whats-really-up-for-grabs-and-why-it-wont-be-monopolized.html
* http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136349-pg,1/article.html
* http://gigaom.com/2007/03/14/700mhz-explained/
* http://wireless.fcc.gov/auctions/default.htm?job=auction_summary&id=73 official results

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