Spectrum Auction Continues, Bids Rise to $18.3B

Forward auction bidders upped their bids by $91 million in round three of stage four of the forward auction, and demand exceeds supply in a few markets, meaning the auction continues to round four, which begins Jan. 23 at 10 a.m.

While there were some reports that the auction had ended at the $18.2 billion total, that is not the case.

The auction has already met the benchmarks for closing but will continue until demand does not exceed supply in any of the 416 markets where the spectrum licenses, seven per market, are being made available.

For example, there is demand for 11 licenses in South Bend, Ind., but only four available.

Broadcasters will not be getting any of that extra money, however. They will get $10 billion, with the balance after auction and repack costs going to the treasury for debt reduction.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler told C-SPAN that if the auction closes at its current total ($18.2 billion when he conducted the interview), it will be "the second-largest amount of spectrum [70 MHz] that has ever been made available in the history of this agency."

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.