FCC Announces Date for Incentive Auction; Establishes Bidding Procedures

In a 3-to-2 partisan vote, the FCC adopted the Procedures Public Notice establishing March 29, 2016, as the commencement date for the incentive auction. It also adopted more streamlined and transparent procedures.  Specifically, the measures adopted during the Commission’s open meeting:

  • Includes procedures for selecting the amount of spectrum that will be offered in the auction;
  • Establishes a formula to determine opening bids;
  • Eliminates the “Dynamic Reserve Pricing”;
  • Establishes “bidding units” to determine opening bids, upfront payments, and bidder eligibility;
  • Ensures that broadcasters receive information about vacancies after each round of bidding;
  • Ensures that wireless bidders have information on “impaired” licenses;
  • Establishes two blocks for bidding – Category 1 affects 0-15 percent of the population within a Partial Economic Area (PEA) and Category 2 affects greater than 15-50 percent of the population within a PEA;
  • Authorizes the auction system to relocate channels in certain geographic areas;
  • Affirms the $1.25 average price and 70 MHz of licensed spectrum benchmarks;
  • Establishes a 20 MHz cap on reserve spectrum in PEAs with fewer than 500,000 people;
  • Limits assignment round bidding to PEAs with the same mix of clock-phase winners and group unimpaired PEAs; and
  • Establishes an optimizing technique to maximize the number of channels which stay in their pre-auction location, minimize new interference to individual stations, and avoid channel reassignments that will result in high costs.

If your company is interested in participating in the incentive auction or would like more information about this auction, please contact John Kuykendall in JSI’s Maryland office at 301-459-7590.

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