FCC's Spectrum Auction Slugfest Goes to Round 15

Commission gooses rounds to help speed process

The FCC's spectrum auction will continue into round 15 after participants in the forward auction, stage 4, bid up the total price to $18,607,285,387 Monday, up about $24 million from $18,583,877,387 in round 14 Friday.

The FCC increased the number of rounds Monday from two to four to help move the process along.

The broadcasters' payout in the reverse auction has already been set at a little over $10 billion, with anything above that, minus $1.9 billion for auction expenses and repacking costs (or a total of about $12 billion), going to the Treasury for deficit reduction.

The FCC Friday released the final framework for the TV station post-auction repack and process for filing for their share of that $1.9 billion.

The auction has met its two price benchmarks for closing—covering the $12 billion and a minimum price in the top 40 markets—but it will continue while there is still any bidding by forward auction bidders (including Comcast/NBCU and Dish) in any of the 416 markets.

That was the case in round 14 in a handful of markets including Toledo and Dayton, Ohio, and South Bend, Ind. The auction has been edging up by about $20 million per round.