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FCC: 84 MHz Is Reserve, Not Projection

FCC Officials clarified Monday (Dec. 15) that the 84 MHz spectrum/1.25 per pop clearing target in the just-issued public notice on the incentive auction rules is a proposed minimum reserve for a successful auction, not a projection of how much spectrum the FCC expects to clear in the  auction.

According to officials speaking on background, suggestions that those targets were a change from the Greenhill report's $1.50 per pop and 126 MHz numbers was not correct. 

The Greenhill numbers—which were provided to broadcasters as a best-case payout scenario—were meant to be a high-end business case for broadcasters to consider, they said, while the 84 Mhz/$1.25 per pop numbers were meant to be a "stick in the ground" minimum for the auction to close and return "fair value for the taxpayer," not a prediction of where the auction was going to end up.

The Greenhill report includes breakdowns of what a station in each market, in an ideal scenario, could be paid for its spectrum, plus the median price in each market. The packets were prepared by FCC staffers in conjunction with investment banker Greenhill & Co., which the FCC turned to in order to help turn policy into a financial case for giving up spectrum.