Stage four of the forward portion of the FCC's incentive auction will continue into round 11 Thursday afternoon after round 10 saw the bid total increase a little over $17 million to $18,522,512,787 as bidders continued to vie for spectrum blocks in smaller markets.
The broadcasters' payout has already been set at about $10 billion for the 84 MHz of spectrum they gave up. But—so long as demand exceeds supply in any of the 416 markets where the seven 10 MHz spectrum blocks are up for auction (broadcasters' 84 MHz minus 14 MHz for buffer bands)—the auction will continue.
The money raised in excess of broadcasters' $10 billion and $1.9 billion or so for auction expenses and TV station repacking will go to the Treasury for deficit reduction. The auction will end after this stage and not return for a fifth reverse auction stage since both the benchmarks for closing the auction have been met.
Among markets where demand outstripped supply in round 10 were Sarasota, Fla., and Eugene, Ore.
After the main auction closes, there will be a second auction among the winners for specific frequencies. The current auction is only to win generic blocks of 10 MHz, 5 uplink and five downlink, with seven blocks available in each market.