The FCC's spectrum auction continued its slow roll Tuesday afternoon, with bidders upping the ante by about $21 million in round seven to $18,461,523,987 (it was $18,440,023,987 in round six) and ensuring the bidding will continue into round eight of stage four of the forward auction.
The auction will close after this forward auction stage because both key benchmarks—covering broadcasters' asking price plus $1.9 billion in auction and repacking costs and a set spectrum floor price in the top 40 markets—have been met (what was referred to as the "final stage rule").
Bidding continues Wednesday starting at 10 a.m.
The auction will continue until demand does not exceed supply in any of the 416 markets. Demand continues to exceed supply in smaller markets.
That means the auction could take another several days or even weeks, while the price may only tick up slightly with each round given that the bid prices in many of those markets are only in the five- or six-figures.
After the main auction closes, there will be a second auction among the winners for specific frequencies. The current auction is only to win generic blocks of 10 MHz, 5 uplink and five downlink, with seven blocks available in each market.
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
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.