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FCC Closes Spectrum License Auction

The Federal Communications Commission's spectrum license auction ended late Monday, raising total net revenues of more than $410 million.

The auctioned licenses can be used by companies to provide a variety of fixed wireless services including local, long distance, high speed data and Internet access information services.

William Kennard, FCC chairman said companies that won the bids would help create competition in the wireless market segment.

"This auction has inserted 2,173 new fixed wireless licenses into the marketplace," Kennard said. "Winning bidders have the potential to create robust competition to the local telephone companies and other local service providers. This should result in lower prices and more choices for consumers."

The auction began on April 12 and ended after 73 rounds of bidding. Of the 29 winning bidders 18 claimed small business status. A total of 2,450 licenses were auctioned. Unsold licenses will be part of a future auction.

Thomas Sugrue, FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau chief, said small businesses won bids on almost 40 percent of the total licenses won.

"These licenses will provide winning bidders with the opportunity to use the latest technologies to meet consumers communications needs," Sugrue said. "The auction also created significant opportunities for small businesses, which acquired 849 licenses in 171 markets for various exciting new wireless services."

Winstar Communications Inc. Tuesday announced that it was one of the top bidders in the FCC auction.

As a result of its winning bid, Winstar was able to enhance its spectrum portfolio in each of the top 60 U.S. markets, adding a total of 109 new channels in these markets and raising its average spectrum holdings from approximately 800 MHz to over 1000 MHz in each market.

Winstar's bids totaled approximately $161 million for 931 licenses, enabling the company to cover an additional 679 million channel pops. The transaction brings Winstar's total number of U.S. channel pops to approximately 2.1 billion.

Because Winstar bid specifically for spectrum licenses that complement its current footprint, the company was able to extend its target market coverage in a cost-effective manner. Winstar paid an average of $0.49 per channel pop for newly acquired spectrum in each of the top 60 markets.

William J. Rouhana, Jr., Winstar chairman and chief executive officer said the company is well positioned to construct its broadband network.

"Winstar was successful in bidding on licenses that round out our current spectrum holdings, giving us an unrivaled depth of coverage in the top 60 U.S. target markets," Rouhana said. "As the only broadband service provider with ubiquitous national spectrum coverage, Winstar is uniquely positioned to build the most widely available, end-to-end network and provide a full portfolio of broadband services to businesses."

The company anticipates that the FCC will issue the licenses in the next 4 months. Winstar is putting it expertise in network deployment to prepare for the availability of radio equipment in the 38 GHz band. Winstar anticipates that it will be able to use this spectrum immediately upon FCC approval.

Winstar's current portfolio of broadband services include high-speed Internet access and data transport, Web-based information, applications services, Web hosting and local and long distance services.

Based in New York City, Winstar operates in more than 70 markets throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and South America. It is one of the largest license holders of broadband fixed wireless spectrum, with licenses in the top 60 U.S. markets and in more than 20 international markets.

The FCC auctioned licenses in 172 economic areas across the U.S