The magic number, which is the bid total minus discounts and bidding credits, stood at an even $22 billion.
That is the number that must be quadrupled (plus a bit) to the $88,379,558,704 that will cover payments to broadcasters and the cost of the auction and post-auction TV station repack.
Demand in the top two markets — New York and L.A. — continued to drop, though both still exceeded supply. In both cases, the FCC was still getting its asking price, which it is increasing by 10% in each round.
If the FCC does not raise enough to cover the $88-plus billion figure, it will move to stage 2 of the auction, where it will lower the spectrum clearing target from 126 MHz to 114 MHz, continue the reverse auction at that lower figure — winnowing out some of the broadcasters that would have been paid at the higher spectrum-clearing total — then try to cover that new figure in a forward auction.
The FCC has nine possible spectrum clearing targets down to a low of 42.