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Comcast's Roberts: NBC Is Likely FCC Auction Participant

Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts told analysts Tuesday (Oct. 27) on a quarterly earnings call that NBC will likely participate in the upcoming broadcast spectrum incentive auction.

The FCC has released opening bid prices of hundreds of millions of dollars in the top markets.

"We've seen some of the opportunity for NBC in that part of the auction [the reverse portion where stations are volunteering to give up or move their channels] and it's certainly something we're likely to participate in," he said.

He said the company was always looking at all options for the company, but that he was "pretty excited" about the "roadmap" they were developing.

Participation does not mean getting out of the business. Broadcasters have a number of options, including giving up spectrum and sharing with another station in a market, including one of their own, or moving from a UHF to a high or low VHF channel position.

Broadcasters are not required to identify themselves as auction participants, but they can.

Broadcasters can apply to be in the auction starting Dec. 1. Applying doesn't mean they are committed to putting spectrum in the auction, but they can't participate if they haven't filed by the end of the application window Dec. 18.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.