Bidding in the Federal Communications Commission’s ongoing auction of H-Block spectrum license continued to slow coming out of the weekend, with the FCC looking to speed up the process by increasing the number of rounds per week beginning Feb. 11.
Monday’s bidding drew a total of 117 new potential winning bids through five rounds, with Auction 96’s total potential winning bids creeping up to $1.296 billion. All 23 qualified bidders remained eligible through the day’s proceedings, with one license (North Platte, Neb./Colo.) continuing to be alone without a single potential winning bid.
Only eight of the auctions 50 most expensive licenses received new bids on Monday, with the largest being the Denver-based license (No. 15) that is now up to $20.1 million. The most expensive licenses continue to be New York City ($217 million), Los Angeles ($166.8 million) and Chicago ($87.2 million).
Most of the ongoing activity is coming from the less expensive of the 176 economic area licenses up for bid. All licenses up for bid include 10 megahertz of spectrum in the upper 1.9 GHz band.
Looking to speed up the proceedings, the FCC said that it will increase the number of rounds per day to seven beginning Tuesday. The FCC has said it will not release names of winning bidders until the auction closes, which will be once a round is absent of any new bids.
Dish Network, which is participating in the auction under the American H Block Wireless entity, had said before the auction that it would bid a minimum of $1.5 billion for the H-Block if the FCC would allow Dish to use that band in combination with its adjacent 30 megahertz of spectrum in the 2 GHz band for downlink transmission instead of having to split the spectrum channels for two-way traffic. The H-Block licenses had been split off from Dish’s original holdings in exchange for the company being able to use the spectrum originally set aside for satellite use to support terrestrial services.
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