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EOBC: FCC Could Cut TV's Auction Opening Prices By Billions

The Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition says that the FCC's opening prices for TV stations in the incentive auction could plummet by more than $8 billion collectively.

In a filing with the FCC Friday (July 2), EOBC, which represents most of a hundred TV stations interested in participating in the incentive auction at the right price, said the FCC needs to make three what it calls "relatively minor" changes to the auction framework, beginning with the "anomaly" that it says, if left unchanged, will cut opening prices to stations in the reverse auction by $8.3 billion.

EOBC also wants the FCC to reduce the decrements in each round (the degree to which prices drop as the FCC seeks the lowest bidder) and adjust the auction pricing formula.

When the FCC released its updated population data for TV stations (population is one factor, EOBC says too large a factor, in the FCC's calculation of opening bid prices), EOBC says station opening bid prices had dropped by 2.3%, or $8.3 billion) due to the new calculations.

The FCC is planning to vote July 16 on its auction framework public notice, which will include its pricing formula for opening bids, decrements, and much more.

In a blog post, EOBC executive director Preston Padden says that the FCC staff is pondering the drop prompted by the new calculation and how to address it.