Work related to the Federal Communications Commission’s millimeter wave spectrum auctions will continue, as the agency prepares to temporarily halt most of its other operations Thursday.
The federal government is currently experiencing a partial shutdown over a budget impasse that has extended into 2019. Earlier this week, House Democrats introduced legislation that would end the government shutdown without funding President Trump’s $5 billion border wall with Mexico, which has been a major point of contention in negotiations.
According to the Associated Press, a vote on the package of bills is planned for first thing Thursday as the Democrats take control of the House and the new Congress assembles.
If the lapse in federal funding continues, the FCC said it will suspend most operations in the middle of the day, though work needed for “the protection of life and property” will proceed, as will the Office of the Inspector General. Spectrum auction-related work will also continue, as it’s funded by proceeds rather than by the federal government.
Bidding at the auction for spectrum licenses in the 28 GHz band, also called Auction 101, started Nov. 14 and is poised to resume tomorrow following a nearly two-week break for the holidays.
As of Dec. 21 the 5G auction had raised $689 million in provisionally winning bids, though bidding cooled substantially since the close of round 50 on Dec. 7. Two licenses in Dane, Wis., have garnered the highest bids so far, bringing in $12.5 million and $11.4 million each, followed by licenses in Honolulu that went for about $10 million each.