In the last four rounds of Wednesday's spectrum auction bidding, the total increased by only about $23 million, from $19,549,026,018 in round 44 to $19,572,715,022 in round 47.
Round 48 begins at 10 a.m. Thursday in what will be the last stage of the forward auction and the last stage of the main FCC broadcast spectrum auction after the major price benchmarks were met Jan. 18.
The FCC is already informing TV stations of where in the spectrum band their channels will be located in the repack of stations after the auction.
At a press conference this week, House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who helped craft the legislation creating the auction, said he had seen the auction "come to its natural conclusion and it has been a real success."
All the money bid above broadcasters' asking price of about $10 billion (for 84 MHz), plus $1.9 billion for auction expenses and TV station relocation, is going to deficit reduction, so that will be over $7 billion.
But the auction has not quite concluded, and even after the current clock auction ends when there is no more bidding in any of the 416 markets, there will be a second auction among the winning forward auction bidders for specific frequencies—they have been bidding on generic blocks.
But the auction is over for the eligible TV stations, who are now free to publicize their participation or how much they got if they were winning bidders in the reverse portion of the auction. Forward auction bidders are still prevented from communicating that information since the forward auction is still going on.
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.
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