TV Incentive Auction Update

Posted on September 30th, 2015 by

Sometime in October, we expect the FCC to take two important actions on the TV Incentive Auction front – publicly announcing the reverse auction opening bid prices for all broadcasters, and issuing an Application Procedures notice that will describe the nuts and bolts of the auction application process and post-auction procedures. This notice will have the opening dates for the application filing windows, filing deadlines and mock auction schedule. It will also list the information that will be required on the auction application forms.

We also expect some workshop announcements, including one each on the reverse and forward auctions. On-line interactive auction tutorials are also anticipated.

Legal challenges from the LPTV community still loom as a possibility, with important deadlines for those challenges falling in early October. But at this point, it is full-steam ahead for the auction at the FCC (see above article on 120 employees sticking around to work on auction issues even in the event of a government shutdown).

We note that Sprint has just publicly announced that it will not be participating in the forward auction for repurposed spectrum, stating that it already has enough spectrum. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai quickly issued a statement about Sprint’s announcement, noting that it intensifies doubts about how competitive the bidding will be and whether the public will receive fair compensation for the spectrum. Pai cited Sprint’s announcement as supporting his belief that the FCC’s action placing artificial limits on carriers’ participation was a mistake.