FCC Grants Licenses to Comcast, Major Auction Winners

The FCC has granted forward spectrum auction winning bidders licenses—including top bidder T-Mobile—with values sufficient to cover winning broadcaster payoffs and the repacking costs, according to an FCC spokesperson.

Those include the licenses won by Comcast, U.S. Cellular, Dish and AT&T, in addition to T-Mobile. T-Mobile's winning bids, totaling $8 billion, and Dish's $6.2 billion were enough by themselves to insure broadcasters got their $10 billion payout and the repack fund of $1.75 billion.

The public will have 30 days from June 14—the date of the public notice—to comment on the individual licenses or petition to deny them.

If there are no such challenges, the FCC will be free to pay broadcasters as early as mid-July.

The FCC approved the above bidders' applications last month, meaning they had paid up the balance of their bids and the applications were complete.

There were no petitions to deny the licenses filed between last month and this week's grant, which is a good sign for the winning bidders.

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.