FCC Releases Forward Auction Bidder Database

The FCC has released the database for the bidders in the forward portion of the incentive auction -- the wireless providers and other companies that have applied to bid on reclaimed broadcast spectrum.

The FCC released the list, which allows the public to drill down and figure out who are the underlying bidders and what other holdings they have.

Being in the database does not carry an obligation to bid, or guarantee of obtaining any spectrum, but those not on the list cannot participate. The applicants will have until early April to correct any deficiencies in their applications.

Comcast and chairman Brian Roberts are listed in the ownership section under CC Wireless -- Comcast had signaled it was applying -- and Liberty Global and chairman John Malone are also applicants under Liberty Spectrum Inc., though The Wall Street Journal reports that Liberty has said it does not plan to bid. Dish and Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen are on the list under ParkerB.com Wireless.

Sinclair Broadcasting, its top exec, David Smith, and Mediacom's Rocco Commisso are among the other names to surface among the possible bidders for broadcast spectrum in the forward auction. Commisso applied to the auction under the monicker of Rolling Hills Entertainment and Sinclair and Smith as STG Wireless.

With Sinclair and Comcast/NBCU in the forward auction, that is at least two companies who are potentially on both sides of the process given that they have broadcast stations and thus could be putting spectrum in the incentive auction (the FCC is not revealing those applicants) while bidding on spectrum when it comes out the other side.

The list includes big companies and small, and various consortia comprising sometimes dozens of smaller companies.

The FCC was trying to encourage diverse bidders in an effort to spread the new spectrum wealth around, including by reserving some of the spectrum for nondominant spectrum holders in individual markets.

To check out the data, go here.

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.