Spectrum marketplace firm Spectrum Bridge this week announced that Maritime Communications/Land Mobile (MCLM) is listing its entire VHF spectrum—covering 85 of the top 100 U.S. markets—on SpecEx, the Spectrum Bridge online marketplace.

Although Spectrum Bridge launched SpecEx a month ago with a spectral inventory the company valued at $250 million, MCLM is the first entity to be announced as listing its airwaves on the web site. MCLM President and CEO John Reardon said he believes SpecEx could impact the spectral marketplace as eBay has impacted consumer goods.

“This seemed to be the best way for people to get information about our spectrum,” Reardon said, specifically noting public-safety agencies as a potential target audience. “These are buyers you might not have ever been able to identify without the power of the Internet.

“That’s why we went with Spectrum Bridge. I really see it as a game-changer in the way that spectrum is bought and sold.”

MCLM is listing spectrum in the 217-219 MHz band that provides coverage to more than 250 million people in the United States, including top markets such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Dallas. Although designated by the FCC in the 1980s as automated maritime telecommunications services (AMTS) licenses, the agency has since allowed more flexible uses for the band, including land mobile radio, SCADA and telemetry, Reardon said.

A buyer of the spectrum would have to assume a few long-term contracts with public-safety entities such as the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, but the “vast majority” of MCLM’s customers operate on month-to-month contracts, Reardon said. As a result, a buyer would be able to utilize the spectrum for new types of applications if it wanted, he said.

Key features of the spectrum are its excellent propagation characteristics and the fact that the buildout requirements already have been met, so there would be no regulatory obligation for a buyer to expend additional capital on the network in the near term, Reardon said.

Getting MCLM to list on SpecEx was a “big win” for Spectrum Bridge because MCLM also considered using several established spectrum brokers before opting to list the airwaves online, said Rick Rotondo, vice president of marketing for Spectrum Bridge. The fact that the spectrum is almost nationwide should make it attractive to a wide variety of potential buyers, he said.

“This kind of spectrum—and this much of it—doesn’t come available that often,” Rotondo said.

The SpecEx auction for the MCLM spectrum is expected to begin in early December.