FCC Is Increasing Spectrum Auction Rounds

The FCC is boosting the number of bidding rounds in the fourth, and last, stage of the broadcast incentive auction.

On Jan. 30, it will move from two two-hour rounds to four one-hour rounds in an effort to goose the bidding.

In addition, the FCC has released some information on the assignment phase of the auction.

After the main auction closes, there will be a second auction in which winning bidders will compete for actual frequency assignments. The FCC is predicting that auction could take several more weeks after the current auction closes.

The forward auction bidders are currently competing for generic blocks—seven 10 MHz licenses—in each partial economic area (PEA), the 416 geographic areas in which the licenses are being auctioned.

Within "a few business days" after the end of the current auction—which won't end until demand fails to exceed supply in any PEA—the FCC will issue a public notice announcing when the assignment phase bidding will begin and provide an online tutorial and user guide similar to the one for the current "clock phase" auction.

About a week after that, it will let bidders check out the system and conduct a practice and mock auction.

John Eggerton

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.