At Long Last, FCC Spectrum Auction Ends


Roughly 12 months after it began, the FCC’s first-ever broadcast incentive auction is over.

Bidding in the assignment phase of the forward auction concluded on Wednesday (3/30), and this marks the end of the auction’s final phase.

The final results: The clearing target reached is 84 MHz, with 70 MHz is licensed spectrum.

The auction proceeds after the Assignment Phase? They came in at exactly $19,768,437,378.

This reflects some $136 million raised in this final phase of the spectrum auction.

NAB EVP/Communications Dennis Wharton congratulated the FCC on completing the incentive auction, adding, “We are now eager to work with the Commission to ensure a smooth repacking transition that protects consumer access to local news, weather, community service and lifeline emergency programming. We look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with policymakers on a seamless transition for our tens of millions of TV viewers and radio listeners.”

The FCC will release the Incentive Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice “in a few weeks,” the Commission said.

This public notice will announce the results of the reverse and forward auctions and will provide important information, reminders, and details regarding post-auction procedures and the obligations of successful bidders in the reverse and forward auctions.

On the same day, each forward auction applicant that became a qualified bidder will receive an e-mail with a link to the location of the public notice on the Commission’s website. A few days later, forward auction bidders will receive a package that includes the form needed to make payments for winning bids and an envelope for returning the RSA SecurID tokens used to access the auction system.

The day after release of the public notice, the Commission will make available complete forward auction round-by-round results, including bidder identities. These results will be available to bidders and to the public in the Public Reporting System.

Post-Auction Information and Educational Materials

Before the end of the day Friday (3/31), a document specifying the formats of the reverse and forward auction results files that will be publicly available after release of the Incentive Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice will be available under the Data section of both the Auction 1001 and the Auction 1002 websites.

In addition, an online tutorial on the immediate post-auction process for the forward auction will be available under the Education section of the Auction 1002 website.

The FCC suggests that bidders also review the Post-Auction Process section of the Application Procedures Public Notice (DA 15-1183), released Oct. 15, 2015.

Assignment Phase Results and Access to the Auction System

Bidder access to the auction system for the assignment phase will be available until 5pm Eastern Tuesday (4/4).

Bidders that wish to download their results files for the forward auction assignment phase should do so before that time.

The Auction Bidder Line ceases operations at 5:30pm March 30. After that time, questions may be directed to the Auction Hotline at 717-338-2868.

The Commission reminds all forward auction applicants that they remain subject to its rules prohibiting certain communications relating to the incentive auction until either: with respect to communications with broadcasters, the completion of the incentive auction as announced by the Incentive Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice; or, with respect to other forward auction applicants and related parties, until the winning bid down payment deadline. All forward auction applicants remain subject to the prohibition regardless of developments during the auction process and regardless of whether they qualified to bid or became winning bidders.

RBR + TVBR RELATED READ: ‘Keep Forward Momentum’ As FCC Auction Ends