FCC's Spectrum Auction May Get Slight Extension

Related: FCC's Spectrum Auction Moves to Three Rounds

The FCC has signaled it may need to go a couple more rounds with broadcasters as it dickers over the price of their spectrum, but that won’t be enough to affect the current schedule for wrapping up the first-of-its kind broadcast spectrum auction.

The FCC said Friday it may need a couple extra rounds to complete the reverse portion of the auction—broadcasters bidding to give up spectrum in exchange for a government payout, low bid wins.

If all goes as planned, which means the FCC continues at a pace of three rounds per day as expected, the reverse auction, either phase one or phase “only,” depending on what happens in the forward auction, should wrap up June 29.

But while the reverse auction was planned for 52 rounds, the FCC said Friday that it could go 54 rounds depending on whether the final bidding status of any VHF stations has not yet been determined.

"The auction schedule displayed in the Auction System and the Public Reporting System currently shows rounds scheduled through round 54. While the auction could conclude before then, we put bidders on notice that it could also continue longer and that they should plan accordingly," the FCC said. "The base clock price will reach $0 in round 52 [the morning of June 29 if the schedule continues at three rounds per day]; however, it is possible to have up to two additional bidding rounds if the final bidding status has not yet been determined for any VHF stations," the FCC said.

That would still mean a June 29 ending, just end of day rather than the morning.

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.