FCC Upping Price in Spectrum Auction

Spectrum blocks will cost 15% more each round in markets where demand remains

The FCC is goosing the spectrum auction yet again as activity continues in smaller markets.

At press time, the latest forward auction stage 4 bidding total was $19,598,252,025 after round 52, with still some activity in smaller markets including Fort Smith, Ark., and Walla Walla, Wash.

The auction can't end until there are no new bids for any of the spectrum blocks in the 416 markets--so anywhere where demand for spectrum blocks exceeds the supply.

The FCC said Thursday that as of Friday it was increasing the price each round by 15%--it had been 10%--and will require bidders to use up $100 percent of their bidding eligibility in each round, up from 95%.

Bidders essentially bought bidding credits with their upfront money, and now must use them all each round rather than being able to keep a few chips in their pocket, as it were.