FCC updates auction rules, delays start dateBy Jose Vilches
Back in July, amid much speculation and debate, the Federal Communications Commission presented the guidelines that will govern the January 16 spectrum auction. Now, however, the FCC has revised some of the rules and has officially delayed the upcoming 700MHz auction by eight days.
"This change of the previously announced start date for Auction 73 will provide interested parties with additional time after this announcement of competitive bidding procedures to develop business plans, assess market conditions and evaluate the availability of equipment for new 700 MHz band services," the FCC stated.
Bidding is to be anonymous and is expected to generate between $10 billion and $15 billion. According to the rules, the C block that requires a winner maintain open access will remain limited to higher-tier bidders, with the commission setting a reserve price of $4.63 billion. If the C block does not meet its reserve, it will be re-auctioned without the open-platform conditions. In addition, the commission also said that small business with gross revenues of $15 million to $40 million will receive a 15% discount on the winning bid price, while companies with gross revenues of less than $15 million will get a 25% discount.
Reportedly, the prospective bidders only have from November 19 to December 3 to fill out a license application in order to participate in the auction. The FCC plans to hold a "mock auction" on January 18, followed by the opening of official bidding on January 24, 2008.