The future of competition for broadband and cellular wireless hits one milestone, close to other: The 700 MHz auction currently underway will distribute thousands of licenses to entities across the country for effective, widespread distribution of broadband, voice, and other services. The C Block is the most hotly contested block, representing a set of licenses that covers the entire U.S. The reserve bid for the block was $4.6b; the current high bid is $4.3b, while the next qualifying bid must be at least $4.75b. The auction as a whole had to gross over $10.3b, and that mark was also hit around noon with $10.8b bid so far. That means that it's extremely likely now that the auction will conclude successfully, and that the C Block will be won. Google at one committed to the reserve price, so if they're bidding--bidders are anonymous in this auction--they will make at least one bid to cross that mark.
The mixed public safety/private use D Block is still up for grabs. The reserve price is $1.4b, but the bidding has hit only over $470m. If the bids don't reach the reserve price, the block will likely be reformulated. Harold Feld alleges monkey business in how the rules for the band were set for a putative winning bidder. In short, he writes that a one-time potential bidder moved into an advisory role to the body that will control the block for public-safety interests. He says that would allow them to set unreasonable terms for a winning bid, and that the FCC refused to set rules that would prevent unreasonable terms from being proposed. Thus, Frontline Wireless, the firm most likely to operate the D Block, shut down, as they couldn't come up with a strategy that was financially sound. (The auction rules state that if you default, you forfeit the difference between your bid and the ultimate winning bid; Frontline could have easily been out hundreds of millions of dollars in that scenario.)
Update: By day's end (Round 16), overall bids reached $11.5b, but no new bids had been registered for either the C or D Blocks.