FCC sees light at the end of the tunnel in airwaves auction

The FCC says it will be able to transfer wireless spectrum from television broadcasters to wireless carriers in a first-of-its-kind auction that started last spring.

One the one hand: This is a victory for supporters of an untested model where the FCC buys spectrum from broadcasters and sells it to wireless providers trying to meet demand from smartphone users.

On the other: The auction will ultimately transfer 70 MHz of licensed spectrum, below the initial target set by the FCC.

What's next: Wednesday's announcement means the auction will conclude successfully. But wireless carriers can continue to bid until there is no more demand. Then comes a lengthy process to implement the auction's results.