The FCC announced Feb. 10 that it was switching from five, 30-minute rounds to 7, 20-minute rounds in the H block auction, according to an FCC spokesperson.
That is standard procedure when bidding activity slows.
All 176 licenses had drawn a bid last week, but the lone bid on North Platte, Neb., was withdrawn, so it is the only market without a provisionally winning bid. Even one bid is the provisional winner since there is no individual market floor price, only an aggregate floor of $1.564 billion, which Dish has guaranteed.
As of round 55, $1,289,790,500 had been bid for 175 of the 176 licenses, but there had only been 17 new bids. The auction will end when there are no more bids, or withdrawals, or waivers—bidders get a certain number of chances to signal they aren't bidding in a round but don't want the auction to end just yet.
The auction is the first of three congressionally mandated spectrum auctions, culminating in the broadcast incentive auction in mid-2015.
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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.