Since 1994, the FCC has conducted auctions of licenses for electromagnetic spectrum. These auctions are open to any eligible company or individual that submits an application and upfront payment, and is found to be a qualified bidder by the Commission.
Anyone who wants to participate in an FCC auction must submit a Form 175. This form provides the FCC with information about the applicant and the licenses on which the applicant wants to bid. It also provides ownership information.
In addition to filing an FCC Form 175 application, each applicant must submit an upfront payment, which is a refundable deposit toward the bids they plan to make in the auction. Prior to an FCC auction, each license being auctioned is assigned a specific number of bidding units, and the upfront payment is used to buy the right to bid on those bidding units.
There are ten steps to the beginning of an Auction, starting with the release of a Comment Public Notice (Approximately 4-6 months prior to auction).
FCC auctions are conducted electronically, and are accessible over the Internet. The FCC Auction System is accessible by anyone using a personal computer with an Internet connection and a browser, such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer. (Bidders may also bid electronically through a dial-up network, as well as telephonically.) The system is state-of-the-art and is designed for ease of use. In fact, most operations can be performed by clicking a mouse button. A built-in help facility is also provided.