History and Key Decisions

FCC 600MHz Spectrum Auction Ends (3/30/2017)

TV Technology

  • Final total dollar figure: $19,768,437,378
  • Broadcaster payout locked to $10,054,676,822; additional money from the assignment phase goes to the treasury for U.S. deficit reduction
Conditions of the Auction Final Stage Rule Satisfied (1/18/2017)

TV Technology

  • $18.2 billion in bids for 70 MHz of public airwaves
  • Auction lasted 43 weeks and four separate stages targeting progressively less spectrum
Historic Incentive Auction Begins (3/28/2016)

TV Technology

  • “March 29, 2016, is the official start date of the two-part auction—a reverse auction with descending prices for broadcasters.”
  • “Why This Matters: The FCC will have enough data to start anticipating a clearing target and a band plan.”
Spectrum bill passes Senate panel (3/4/2016)


  • Passed unanimously by Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the MOBILE NOW Act solidifies govt. plan to identify, earmark, and auction 500 MHz of spectrum for broadband providers
  • FCC and NTIA are responsible for rounding up 255 MHz of federal and non-federal spectrum for next-gen wireless broadband services providers
FCC Initiatives: Broadcast Incentive Auction (1/8/2016)


  • “The auction will use market forces to align the use of broadcast spectrum with 21st century consumer demands for video and broadband services.”
  • “…a means of repurposing spectrum by encouraging licensees to voluntarily relinquish spectrum usage rights in exchange for a share of the proceeds from an auction of new licenses to use the repurposed spectrum.”
Broadcast TV Spectrum Auction (5/15/2014)


  • Video of an open meeting held by the FCC pertaining to rules about the wireless spectrum auction (at the time, planned to occur in 2015)
  • 3-2 vote by commissioners in favor of spectrum amount limit for AT&T and Verizon
Spectrum Policy: Provisions in the 2012 Spectrum Act (3/12/2014)

Linda K. Moore, courtesy of FAS

  • White paper on the background, goals, policy details, and potential ramifications of the Public Safety and Spectrum Act
  • Includes info on geographic coverage of spectrum licenses, spectrum limits, and planning for the future