FCC Preps for What Could Be Biggest Spectrum Auction Ever

US officials appear to be putting the final touches on what some analysts believe will be the nation’s biggest spectrum auction ever.

Perhaps not surprisingly, 5G sits at the heart of the matter. Although the network technology can work in a wide variety of spectrum bands, many in the industry argue that midband spectrum — roughly between 2.5GHz and 6GHz — is ideal for 5G. And the FCC, the government agency charged with commercial spectrum management, appears to be in the final stages of designing rules around how to auction the C-Band, a massive strip of spectrum between 3.7GHz and 4.2GHz.

A C-Band auction could raise at least $50 billion in gross bids, according to a new calculation from the Wall Street analysts at New Street Research. At such a level, it would make the auction the biggest ever for the US in terms of total bids.

At $50 billion, the C-Band would be far bigger than the FCC’s most recent spectrum auctions, of 24GHz and 28GHz licenses totaling $2.7 billion that ended earlier this year. It would be bigger than the agency’s 600MHz incentive auction in 2017 totaling around $20 billion. It would even be bigger than the massive $45 billion AWS-3 spectrum auction in 2015, which is so far the biggest FCC auction ever, towering over the agency’s $13.7 billion AWS-1 auction in 2006 and its $18.9 billion 700MHz auction in 2008.

“We believe the C-Band is the most important spectrum band to come to market in a decade, if not the most important licenses since the original cellular licenses were granted in the 1980s,” the New Street analysts wrote in a recent report to investors. However, they acknowledged that it’s difficult to assess the value of spectrum, and the amount of money raised in any C-Band auction would depend on how much spectrum is up for grabs.

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Dear Fellow LPTV Broadcaster and Industry Leaders,

The auction has ended and most of us are still here.  While it was not only our hope but the hope of many others that the auction would not take place . . . it did, but it did not have the devastating effect that it might have had. 

The world after the auction looks different and amazingly so has a very bright future!

What does that future look like?  Not only the amazing possibilities of ATSC 3.0 but the landscape of a nation of people who are increasingly cutting their cable cords and looking for free, over the air, broadcasting content.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that you join the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance.  Our board of directors have a combined 500+ years of experience which beginning with your membership we are going to start making more available to our members on an increasing basis.

Soon as an ATBA member, you will be eligible to start tapping into not only this brain trust through unique services available only to our members but regular news updates regarding our collective broadcast future.  We are exploring new ways to tap into information from Washington as well as important updates that will benefit you right there where you live.

The need for the ATBA has increased with the new opportunities that are becoming available for those of us who still know that the future of LPTV, Class A and Translators is bright!  Are you selling your station to local sponsors?  Are you maximizing your spectrum to the advantage that you truly can?  Are you struggling with FCC rules and regulations that you either don’t understand or can’t get explained?

The ATBA is developing a database of information to help you find the answers you need! 

In addition we are still working with the true decision makers in Washington.  Your ATBA has earned the respect and the ear of the true movers and shakers that continue to shape our collective broadcasting future.

So what can you do to get involved and begin to take advantage of these, and many other, benefits?  Join the ATBA today!  Your membership benefits will include:

  1. Members only access to hundreds of years of LPTV experience through our new “Brain Trust”
  2. Early entry to our annual NAB LPTV evening event with access to our special event guest(s)
  3. Exclusive digital content regarding real world information you need to know
  4. Eligibility for recognition for your hard work through our ATBA LPTV Awards
  5. Access to equipment manufacturers with discounts available especially for ATBA members!

To be honest you can’t afford not to be a member of the ATBA! 

We’re making it affordable because it’s a win – win!  When you join, you’re going to receive more than just the benefits listed above but also you’ll be aligning with hundreds of others who, like yourself, have a vested interest in the continued forward movement of free, over-the-air broadcasting.  It’s a win for your ATBA because we will increase our strength through numbers as we grow together.

So what’s the next step?  If you’re ready follow this link https://www.broadcastingalliance.org/join-us/ to sign up.  If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to call a member of the ATBA board of directors by calling this number (877) 214-4277.   You’ll get a rapid response!

Thanks for taking the time to read this note and for your ongoing passion for the future of communication in this great country.


The Board of Directors – The Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance