Forward Bidders Boost Total By $60 Million

The FCC's forward auction picked up a little steam late Monday, with bidders boosting the total bids in round five from $18,354,882,127 to $18,413,831,687, up by almost $60 million, for the available 70 MHz of unimpaired spectrum (seven paired blocks of 10 MHz per market).

That was compared with only a $35 million increase in round four over the third round.

The broadcast incentive auction is essentially in clean-up mode after the final stage rule was met last week — broadcasters’ $10 billion asking price was met and benchmark spectrum value in the top 40 markets was also met.

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So long as there is any activity (demand exceeding supply) in any market, the auction continues, so it will go at least through round six, which begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24. For example, demand exceeds supply after round five in Cleveland, Charlotte, N.C., among others. 

And while the auction bids could continue to inch up or the auction close with no more activity given that the activity is in smaller markets with smaller payouts, there remains an unsold block in L.A., so if someone bid on that block, the total could still increase by several hundred million.

Broadcasters' take is already fixed at $10,054,676,822, so anything above that (and the $1.9 billion to cover auction and repacking costs) goes to the treasury.

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.