Round 22: FCC's Spectrum Auction Bids Up Over $860M

FCC increases asking price by 10%, bids increase by 4%

After the first round (round 22) of the FCC raising the price for spectrum from 5% per round to 10% per round, the bids totaled $21,436,324,000, or up a little over 4% ($867,927,000) from round 21's $20,568,397,000. That means while the FCC is upping its top prices for the spectrum by 10% each round, in many markets the demand is not supporting that price increase, given that if the FCC were getting that higher price in all markets, the bid total would have increased by over $2 billion.

However, in many markets supply is exceeding demand, though that could change as money moves around.

Net of bidding credits and discounts, the round 22 total was $20,790,000,000, which is the figure that has to eventually get to $88,379,558,704 or more to cover broadcasters' payments and moving expenses and auction expenses if the auction is to close after stage one, in which 126 MHz is being auctioned in 416 geographic license parcels to 62 qualified bidders, including Comcast, AT&T, Dish and T-Mobile.

Demand was lower in some of the top 10 markets over the past few rounds as demand began to align more with supply. In New York, demand continued to exceed supply by two to one, but in Chicago and San Francisco, for example, there were 10 bids for the 10 available licenses.

In Dothan, Ala., there were bids for only 3 of the 10 licenses, and while the FCC had raised the price to $715,000, those three bids were for only $650,000.