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Spectrum Demand Falls in NYC, LA in Round 24 of Auction

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.

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 Los Angeles -- continued to drop, though in both cities demand still exceeded supply. In both cases, the FCC was still getting its asking price, which it is increasing by 10% in each round.

Related:Spectrum Auction Bids Up Over $860M After Round 22

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.