FCC's Incentive Auction Mock Rounds Underway

First stage of forward auction confirmed to begin on Aug. 16

The FCC's "mock auction" to familiarize spectrum bidders with the forward auction bidding process started Thursday morning and will continue on Aug. 12 in anticipation of the official start of bidding on 600 MHz band licenses for mobile broadband use. That bidding will start on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Gary Epstein, chair, and Jean L. Kiddoo, deputy chair, of the FCC's Incentive Auction Task Force, discussed the auction agenda and details in an FCC blog posted Thursday.

Using the tempting opening line, "Who says nothing happens in Washington in August," Epstein and Kiddoo explained that, "Because this is a new auction design, we wanted to give you a preview of how the process will unfold and how the public can keep track as the auction moves through the bidding rounds."

The blog/tutorial explains that throughout the forward auction, the public will be able to "obtain information about the results of bidding on our Public Reporting System." The Forward Auction section of the PRS will provide a Product Status screen that will offer details on bidding activity for each "product" (the pairing of a license category and a partial economic area (PEA), which refers to the 416 geographic markets).

The Epstein/Kiddoo blog emphasizes that "unlike the reverse auction,...forward auction bidding rounds for a stage can continue without limit so long as demand outpaces supply for any product."

"As such, we cannot predict when the forward auction will conclude," they say.

It could be a very long summer, autumn and possibly into next year.