FCC moves toward second part of historic spectrum sale

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will name the bidders who qualify for the second part of a first-of-its-kind wireless spectrum auction later this month.

Gary Epstein and Howard Symons, who lead the task force behind the auction, said in a Friday blog post that they would release the names once they had processed upfront payments from companies interested in buying spectrum, the wireless frequencies that carry data to mobile devices.

{mosads}“Once we’ve validated which applicants have made payments, we will release a list of qualified bidders in mid-July,” they said.

The commission will then embark on a bidder education process in the lead-up to the actual auction.

This will be the second segment of the auction, which is attempting to move spectrum held by broadcasters into the hands of wireless providers and others who want to use it for mobile devices. Broadcasters earlier this year participated in a process, similar to a Dutch auction, where they bid to give up their spectrum entirely or share a channel with someone else.

The FCC has set the bar high for the sale by trying to clear the maximum amount of spectrum possible through the process.

Last week, it announced it was set to pay more than $86 billion to broadcasters for their spectrum. That will only be possible if enough bidders actively participate in the second segment of the auction.

The auction is being closely watched because it is seen as a potential model for realigning spectrum resources with growing demand fueled by smartphones and other connected devices.

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