FCC Auctions Bandwidth

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The Federal Communications Commission is auctioning off bandwidth to meet the exploding demand for mobile phone and data service, and to improve first responder communication, the agency announced in a new regulation.
     The new regulation implements a Congressional directive in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 to grant new initial licenses in expanded bandwidth through a competitive bidding system.
     "This provision grants the FCC the authority to hold voluntary incentive auctions, allocates necessary spectrum for a nationwide interoperable broadband network for first responders, provides $7 billion for public safety broadband network build out, and provides up to $1.75 billion for relocation costs for broadcasters. This provision is estimated to raise $15 billion over the next 11 years," according to an FCC press release.
     Proceeds from the auction of licenses will be deposited in the Public Safety Trust Fund to create the first responder network, the FCC said in its final rule.
     The bidding for bandwidth also creates a vehicle to meet the growing demand for wireless spectrum.
     "In doing so, we extend the widely deployed broadband Personal Communications Services band, which is used by the four national wireless providers, as well as regional and rural providers, to offer mobile service across the U.S.," the agency said.
     The advancement in technology and the broadening dependence on data service prompted the new regulation.
     "This additional spectrum for mobile use will help ensure that the speed, capacity and ubiquity of the nation's wireless networks keep pace with the skyrocketing demand for mobile services," the FCC noted.