FCC AWS-3 Auction Closes

Agency Raised $44.9 Billion for Wireless Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission's AWS-3 auction has officially closed, having raised $44.9 billion.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced the news at the public meeting Thursday (Jan. 29).

The FCC faces a Feb. 22 statutory deadline for issuing the licenses, but the agency will miss that by a bit, and Congress is unlikely to complain given the historic total raised;  the exact amount was $44,899,451,600, though the bids remain provisional until the paperwork is completed.

The FCC is expected to put out a final notice on the auction in the next several days; the notice will identify the bidders, who will have 20 days to pay up and file various forms, after which a comment period ensues.

Put together, that would push the licensing beyond the Feb. 22 statutory deadline.

A total of 65 MHz of spectrum was up for auction in 1,614 geographic licenses. The record total — more than twice the previous high for an FCC spectrum auction — relieves the financial pressure on the broadcast incentive auction.