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FCC ends wireless auction with $19.6B in bids

FCC ends wireless auction with $19.6B in bids
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The Federal Communications Commission said Friday that the bidding phase of the agency's first-ever auction of wireless spectrum had closed, with bids totaling $19.6 billion.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai offered "congratulations to the winners."

"The participation of these broadcasters and wireless carriers will enable the Commission to release 84 megahertz of spectrum into the broadband marketplace," he added. "These low-band airwaves will improve wireless coverage across the country and will play a particularly important role in deploying mobile broadband services in rural areas."

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The auction allowed the FCC to purchase airwaves from television broadcasters and sell them to wireless providers in order to meet the growing demand for coverage. In the first phase, the so-called reverse auction, where the FCC purchased airwaves, bidding ended at about $10 billion. In the second phase, the forward auction, where the FCC sold those airwaves, bidding closed at $19.6 billion.

That figure, though, was well below expectations, according to reports.

Pai promised to work towards a smooth transition following the auction.

"That means we must ensure uninterrupted access to over-the-air television and a timely clearing of the new wireless band," he said. "We will devote a great deal of attention to those tasks over the coming months, and it will be a top priority of mine as Chairman of this agency."