The Shock of a One-Round Stage Two Forward Auction

Posted on October 28th, 2016 by

It was the shock heard around the country. With a new 114 Mhz clearing target (19 TV channels), and a $58 billion price tag, the FCC announced and then started the first round of the Stage Two Forward Auction. And a few hours later, the Stage Two Forward Auction ended based on the activities of the bidders and the computer algorithm. The bidding system announcement to that end was initially not believable. And then reality set in. It was true. The FCC’s activity requirement for the top 40 markets was apparently not met, and despite bidding that continued in markets above that, the stage was declared over.

The FCC’s carefully worded announcement about Stage 3 did not allude to the unusual end of the prior stage, but merely announced that a future notice would be forthcoming. That announcement has arrived, and the FCC has declared 108 Mhz as the next clearing target, with bidding in the Stage 3 Reverse Auction set to begin on Tuesday, November 1st.

The pundits and smart people believe that we’re headed to a Stage 4, but we’ve got to see the outcome of Stage 3 first. Questions abound, but answers are on the way.