Birds fly, grass grows, and the FCC auctions off wireless spectrum. It's just one of those inevitable facts of life. In 2008, the Commission sure sold plenty of the stuff, with both AT&T
trading billions of dollars for enough building-penetrating 700MHz bandwidth
to start LTE networks (that's 4G, vaquero!) as early as next year
. One huge chunk of spectrum didn't sell, however: the infamous Block 'D,' subject to a unique FCC mandate that required it to be shared with first responders and government agencies for public safety. Last we heard
, 'D' was in limbo awaiting a new auction, but Reuters
reports that said wait may be nearly over. According to Jamie Barnett, the FCC's Chief of Public Safety, the entity could test the waters as early as this summer, and start Auction 76
in earnest by Q1 or Q2 of 2011. Who might bid at that late date is still uncertain -- would-be 4G competitors will be way behind Verizon and AT&T by that time -- but it seems a mighty fine idea for paramedic phones to work while buried under rubble, regardless.
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.