FCC Auction Over: $19.5 Billion In Bids

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Washington – The Federal Communications Commission’s auction of old analog TV spectrum brought in $19.5 billion, nearly double some estimates, FCC chairman Kevin Martin announced Tuesday night.

Martin, in a conference call with reporters, said the agency would identify the winning bidders after the agency had voted to officially close the auction, which began in January.

About one-third of the spectrum auctioned will come with regulations intended to allow consumers to use their own handsets and download applications without interference from network owners.

The effort to auction a piece of the spectrum to help build a wireless broadband network for public safety groups was a failure, forcing the agency to draft a new plan in the weeks and months ahead.

Winning bidders need to pay the U.S. Treasury by June 30. Some of the money will go to fund the Commerce Department’s $1.5 billion program to subsidize digital-to-analog converter boxes.

Spectrum winners gain access to the airwaves after all full-power TV stations shut down their analog signals on Feb. 17, 2009, as required by federal law.

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