Spectrum Auction Decision Time Starts March 28

TV stations will have only a 32-hour window in which to commit to the broadcast incentive auction.

The FCC has issued instructions for how broadcasters eligible for the incentive auction will have to file their commitments to participate.

That came in a public notice issued Thursday by the Wireless Bureau and Incentive Auction Task Force.

The online "commitment module" will be available for preview starting at 10 a.m. ET on March 24 and will remain open for tire kicking until the official application window opens.

Broadcasters will be able to log in and review the stations for which they can may make initial commitments, as well as their options for relinquishment—give up spectrum altogether or moving to a lower channel.

The actual commitment window opens at 10 a.m. ET on March 28. That is when stations can start locking in their auction participation and commitment elections. The window closes at 6 p.m. the following day (March 29). Late commitments will not be accepted and the station will not be eligible to participate.

The FCC will provide an online tutorial on how to make those initial commitments starting Feb. 29.

The commission will provide similar access and info for participants in the forward auction (those bidding on relinquished spectrum), but the FCC did not pin down any dates.

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.