Bids Top $2.8B for Wireless Spectrum

FCC's airwave auction opens with $1.24B offer
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Jan 25, 2008 6:31 AM CST
A cell phone tower rises from a field in Sudbury, Massachusetts.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The Federal Communication Commission’s much-anticipated auction of five “blocks” of airwaves kicked off yesterday with first-round bids of nearly $2.8 billion, including a $1.24 billion offer for the “C” block, considered the most valuable commercially, reports Reuters. Bidders could use the 700-MHz spectrum to offer wireless high-speed internet to mobile phones and computers. The auction could net $10 billion.

Bidders who can participate—there are 241 qualified—include AT&T, Verizon, Google and Cablevision. Yesterday, more than 3,000 bids were made. The auction continues today and could take months to complete. TV broadcasters used the sought-after spectrum, but will vacate it for digital broadcasting in early 2009. The spectrum is valuable because it can travel long distances and penetrate thick walls.