Google, Carriers Await 700 MHz Auction Bid Results

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The auction generated nearly $19.6 billion in bids and the airwaves in question are being made available thanks to the transition to digital broadcasting for television stations by Feb. 18, 2009.

The identity of the anonymous bidders in the $19.6 billion auction could be released early next week or perhaps as soon as Friday, according to The Associated Presss, which cited an FCC official who asked not to be named because the vote was not official.

The spectrum up for the auction includes an "open-access" provision, in which users on about one-third of the airwaves would be able to use any phone or software.

It is believed that more than 100 companies or groups entered bids for the spectrum, which drew great interest -- and expected high bids -- because of its ability to travel long distances and penetrate walls and other barriers.

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Among the candidates approved for bidding thus far are Google Airwaves, CTC Telecom, Fidelity Communications, Paul Allen's Vulcan Spectrum, as well as lesser-known applicants such as Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative and Vermont Telephone Company.

Some more well-known entries are still listed as incomplete, including communications companies Alltel, AT&T, Cox Wireless, Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless, and even oil giant Chevron had incomplete bids as of late December, but most were expected to have completed bids before the auction closed.

Google has drawn a lot of publicity around its bid and its request to have the FCC change the auction process. The company said last year, it was ready to bid at least $4.6 billion for the so-called "C Block" of spectrum, a piece of airwave real estate it particularly longed for.