TV Auction Filing Window Moved and Extended

Posted on December 1st, 2015 by

In an unusual move that followed a correction to the list of opening bids for TV station spectrum in the upcoming Incentive Auction, the FCC pushed back and extended the window for full power and Class A television stations to file applications to become qualified to bid in the auction. Previously, the window was 19 days long, from December 1st through 18th, 2015. Now, the window will open at 12 noon ET on December 8, 2015 and close at 6 pm ET on January 12, 2016. That’s 35 days — almost double the length of the previously announced window.

The Form 177 application to be filed in the window has only just been approved by the Office of Management & Budget. So we now have instructions for the form (that’s helpful). Plus, the FCC has now made available an online tutorial for the reverse auction portion of the incentive auction (where broadcasters will participate). If you just want to stare at the form questions and answer choices in PDF format, you can click here. And finally, just to be sure, you can participate in (or watch afterward) an upcoming webinar that will demonstrate in even more detail how to complete and file the Form 177 online. Oddly enough, that webinar will be in progress when the window opens at 12 noon ET on December 8, 2015, the first day of the filing window.

Why such careful prep and detail? Well, if a station does not file an application during this window to become a qualified bidder in the auction, or incorrectly files it, that station will have made a final decision not to participate in the auction. Those that do file the Form 177 can still decide not to participate by simply not submitting a preferred initial bidding option by the March 29, 2016 deadline. That date is the official “start” of the auction.

We are certain that more updates, notices, corrections, clarifications and various and assorted other releases will find their way onto the FCC’s website or into their daily releases. Keep vigilant.