Government Raises $19.8 Billion in Airwaves Auction

The U.S. government raised $19.8 billion in an auction transferring airwave rights from TV broadcasters to companies interested in wireless networks.

The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the nation’s airwaves, ran the auction to help wireless networks keep up as people spend more time on smartphones. The biggest spenders were T-Mobile, Comcast and the satellite TV company Dish.

The auction, which started last year, will pay out $10 billion to 175 TV broadcasters that sold off their licenses. Those broadcasters go off the air or move to new channels. Other stations will be affected, too, and roughly 1,000 will have to move channels over the next few years. Consumers may have to rescan their sets to get them.

About $7.3 billion of that sum goes to offset the federal deficit.

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