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Following Round 29, Spectrum Auction Now FCC's Second Largest

The bid totals in stage four of the forward portion of the FCC's spectrum auction continued to rise Thursday (Feb. 2), reaching $19.12 billion in Round 27, then $19.16 in round 28, and finally $19.19 in round 29, when it pushed past the 2008 700-MHz spectrum auction into second place for gross revenue.

The AWS-3 wireless auction remains the undisputed leader at $40 billion-plus. The final total in the current auction Thursday was $19,194,000,446.

The auction can't close until there is no more bidding in any of the 416 markets, which is not yet the case. Round 29 saw continued action in a number of smaller markets including Harrisburg, Va.; Ardmore, Okla.; and Pendleton, Ore.

The auction has already met its two key clearing targets, and broadcasters already know how much they are getting: about $10 billion, so the auction will end at the end of the current forward auction stage. The difference between the $10 billion payout, plus $1.9 billion for auction expenses and TV station post-auction relocation, will go to the Treasury.

The forward auction is a clock auction in which the FCC raises the price in each round until demand does not exceed supply in each round.

As of Feb. 1, the FCC bumped up its per-round price increase from 5% over the previous price to 10%.