U.S. Auction of Broadcast TV Spectrum by Mid-2015?

Sometime in 2015, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission hopes most TV broadcasters will be willing to sell their analog 600 MHz TV spectrum back to the government, allowing the FCC to hold a separate auction where U.S. mobile service providers can buy that spectrum.

"I believe we can conduct a successful auction in the middle of 2015," says Tom Wheeler, Federal Communications Commission chairman.

Since 2012, when the Federal Communications Commission voted to launch the
incentive auction process, the United States has been the first nation in the world to implement a new auction process to repurpose broadcast television spectrum for mobile broadband use.

The auction will actually have two linked auctions. In the initial “reverse auction” phase, TB broadcasters will submit bids to give up their 6 MHz channels, selling the spectrum back to the FCC.

There are some 8,402 total television stations operating in the UHF and VHF UHF and VHF bands which can be sold back to the FCC, each assigned a 6 MHz block of spectrum covering a particular local geographical area.

Then spectrum will be “repacked” by the FCC so that broadcasters not willing to sell their spectrum can continue to operatre.

Finally, the FCC will conduct a traditional "forward" auction in which mobile carriers will bid for the spectrum.
The FCC's proposed band plan calls for 5 MHz blocks of spectrum to be auctioned. The FCC anticipates that there will be 6 MHz guard bands to separate spectrum blocks used by carriers, and that the "white space" between the blocks will be open for unlicensed use. "I believe we can conduct a successful auction in the middle of 2015," says Tom Wheeler, Federal Communications Commission chairman.

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