After some doubt that bidding interest would be sufficient to bring the FCC's broadcast incentive spectrum auction to a close, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has confirmed the threshold was hit today.
That means with requirements satisfied ($17.65B in net proceeds as of round 2), the forward auction will conclude in the current stage (Stage 4).
Bidding will go on (resuming at 10 a.m. tomorrow) until there's no excess demand in any of the markets, and it will be followed by an assignment phases where winning wireless bidders can bid for specific blocks of spectrum.
The benefits of running an incentive auction are "indisputable," Wheeler says: "We will repurpose 70 MHz of high-value, completely clear low-band spectrum for mobile broadband on a nationwide basis.
"On top of that, 14 MHz of new unlicensed spectrum -– the test bed for wireless innovation -– will be available for consumer devices and new services. The auction will provide $10.05 billion to broadcast television licensees who participated and billions towards deficit reduction."
Previously: FCC airwaves auction goes tepid as bids fail to match broadcaster supply (Jan. 18 2017)