Are Broadcasters Up For Reverse Auction Resumption?


The FCC’s broadcast incentive auction will resume on Tuesday, Nov. 1, as broadcasters get the chance to close the gap with wireless companies on the value of spectrum with the commencement of Stage 3 of the Reverse Auction.

The new clearing target: 108 MHz. This means 80 MHz of licensed spectrum are up for grabs.

As has been the case with the early rounds of both the Reverse Auction and the Forward Auction, bidding will begin with one four-hour round, at 10 a.m. Eastern on Nov. 1.

The next three days will see twin two-hour trading sessions, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Eastern.

Starting Nov. 7, three hour-long bidding sessions will be held each weekday, at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. Eastern. There are no bidding sessions on Nov. 11, in observance of Veterans’ Day.

Stage 3 of the Reverse Auction will see the maximum number of spectrum blocks per market reduced to 8, from 9 in Stage 2 and 10 in Stage 1.

The second stage of the FCC’s reverse auction concluded with Round 53 on Oct. 13, with a new clearing target of $54.59 billion — exactly $33.8 billion lower than the forward auction’s first stage. The clearing target had been reduced from 126 MHz to 114 MHz.

Several more rounds of back-and-forth bidding may be seen before an agreeable clearing target is reached.

With just one two-hour trading session held Oct.  18 yielding tepid bidding from wireless communications companies, the Commission pulled the plug on further rounds, effectively ending the second stage of the forward auction as some $21.52 billion was bid on spectrum by wireless companies.

Unlike the Forward Auction, the Reverse Auction is conducted with a high level of secrecy, with participants forbidden by law to say what is happening.

The FCC is expected to release the aggregate amount of reverse auction bids at the end of Stage 3.