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As Next Year’s C-Band Auction Looms, FCC Officials Reflect on Innovation in Spectrum Auctions


WASHINGTON, November 12, 2019 – Increased attention surrounding next June’s impending C-Band spectrum auction was the occasion for legal experts to address the ways in which the Federal Communications Commission has improved its auction process – as well as how clients can improve communication during the bidding process.

Innovation in auctions is key as spectrum policy becomes more complex, said FCC Office of Economics and Analytics Acting Chief Giulia McHenry at a FCBA Wireless Telecommunications Committee event Tuesday. Auctions are no longer limited to the wireless space, she said, as they encompass radio airwaves, television as well as the Universal Service Fund.

The reality is that there is no more greenfield spectrum available, McHenry said. There needs to be a way to share spectrum with existing users as the number of incumbents increase. Satellite companies particularly, she said, are incumbents that use a great amount of current mid-band spectrum.

The FCC retains four priorities with future spectrum proceedings, McHenry added. Make significant spectrum available for 5G wireless services, deploy it quickly, provide auction revenue for the U.S. Treasury and make sure that users get the amount of spectrum that they need.

Looking back at how the agency has transformed its auction process, said FCC Office of Economic Advancement and Analytics Auctions Division Chief Margaret Weiner, is beneficial for future endeavors. Over the years, physical bidding seminars have been replaced with online tutorials and an online application process for bidders.

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