In 2002, the FCC reallocated the 698-746 MHz spectrum band (Lower 700 MHz Band) that had been allocated to
television Channels 52-59. The recovery of the Lower 700 MHz Band will be made possible by the conversion of television
broadcasting from the existing analog transmission system to a digital transmission system. Because the digital television
(DTV) transmission system is more spectrally efficient than the analog system, less spectrum will be needed for broadcast
television service after the transition to DTV on channels 2 - 51 is complete.
Pursuant to Section 309(j)(14) of the Communications Act, the FCC is required to assign spectrum recovered from
broadcast television using competitive bidding. On September 18, 2002, the FCC completed an initial auction of 740
licenses in the Lower 700 MHz band C and D blocks, or the 710-716/740-746 MHz and 716-722 MHz bands
(Auction No. 44
) raising (in net high bids) a total of $88,651,630 for the U.S. Treasury. 102 winning bidders won a total of 484
licenses in this auction. On June 13, 2003, the FCC completed an additional auction of 256 licenses in the Lower 700
MHz band C and D blocks (Auction No. 44
) raising (in net high bids) a total of $56,815,960. In this auction, 35 winners
won a total of 251 licenses. Auctions for the A, B, and E Blocks
have not been scheduled.
Winning bidders must follow a series of steps in order to be granted their license(s). Once the auction is completed, the
FCC issues a public notice announcing the winning bidders as well as instructions regarding down payments and
submission of Form 601.