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Round 24: Bids Up About $700 Million

With a couple of dozen rounds of the forward portion of the FCC spectrum auction in the books, the bidding stood at $22,704,101,100, up just under $700 million from round 23's $22,077,875,100.

The magic number, which is the bid total minus discounts and bidding credits, stood at an even $22 billion.

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That is the number that must be quadrupled (plus a bit) to the $88,379,558,704 that will cover payments to broadcasters and the cost of the auction and post-auction TV station repack. 

Demand in the top two markets — New York and L.A. — continued to drop, though both still exceeded supply. In both cases, the FCC was still getting its asking price, which it is increasing by 10% in each round.

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If the FCC does not raise enough to cover the $88-plus billion figure, it will move to stage 2 of the auction, where it will lower the spectrum clearing target from 126 MHz to 114 MHz, continue the reverse auction at that lower figure — winnowing out some of the broadcasters that would have been paid at the higher spectrum-clearing total — then try to cover that new figure in a forward auction.

The FCC has nine possible spectrum clearing targets down to a low of 42.