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Wireless Companies Bid $34B in FCC Mobile Broadband Airwave Auction

CellTowerThe Federal Communications Commission has so far raised $34 billion in bids from wireless companies for 65 megahertz — or six blocks — of mobile broadband airwaves in the electromagnetic spectrum, Tthe New York Times reported Saturday.

Edward Wyatt reports that $7 billion of the potential auction proceeds will go to the First Responder Network Authority — or FirstNet project — for public safety communications across the U.S.

The report said the raised amount as of Friday already exceeds FCC’s presale reserve price of $10.5 billion and indicates that wireless companies see further market opportunities for smartphone Internet functions.

“Consumer demand for wireless broadband is on a growth curve that looks like a hockey stick, and carriers are desperate to keep up with that demand,” Preston Padden, executive director of the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition, told the publication.

Wyatt writes that the response to the auction could be due to factors such as the time interval between auctions and increasing usage of smartphones to access the Internet.

Bid prices could further increase as the auction continues despite the higher frequency of the available airwaves compared to those sold in 2008, the report said.

Seventy wireless companies, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Dish Network, have received FCC approval to participate in the current auction.

Wyatt reports that FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration continue to offer incentives for broadcast stations and government agencies to free up frequencies ahead of the next planned spectrum auction in 2016.

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