FCC Spectrum Auction Update

The Reverse Auction – where TV stations bid their offer downward – of what it will take for them to turn in their license – should finish on Wednesday


Once the price of the 100 MHz of spectrum nationwide (10 slices of 10 MHz) has been announced, the forward auction begins, where cell phone companies bid how much they are willing to pay. If they are willing to pay the asking price (plus expenses), the deal could wrap up in a couple weeks. If the price is too high, the reverse auction starts again, lowering the spectrum target to force down the reverse auction prices.

Once the framework is approved, things could move pretty fast, especially in smaller markets where there is adequate spectrum without buying anything, just pushing the existing stations to a lower channel number (29 or below). Since Digital TV are virtual channels from the user perspective and the physical channel is just a computer software setting, implementation is simple, except where a station chooses to multiplex onto a competing station’s signal

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