FCC's Forward Auction Money Due May 11

As a reminder, Thursday (by 6 p.m.) is when the winning forward auction bidders are supposed to have ponied up the balance of their payments for broadcast TV spectrum. But don't look for any info out of the FCC just yet on who has or hasn't paid. 

For one thing, they will not be in default on those payments until after May 25—there is a two-week grace period, but it comes with a 5% late fee penalty. 

For those that do make Thursday's deadline or the May 25 final deadline, the FCC will issue public notices, likely on a staggered basis, as applications are accepted, which means those bidders have paid in full, and the FCC has done its review to make sure the application is complete.

It will probably take another three months or so after that, if past auctions are any gauge, before that money changes hands again and the FCC pays broadcasters their winning bid amounts.

If any of the bidders do default, the FCC will re-auction the spectrum at some future date and the defaulter would have to make up the difference in price if the spectrum was sold for less than they had bid.

That was the case in the AWS-3 auction, where Dish will have to make up that difference, if there is one, when its partially in default licenses are re-auctioned.

(Photo via 401(K) 2012's FlickrImage taken on Feb. 21, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 9x16 aspect ratio.)

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.