Federal Communications Commission’s spectrum incentive auction rules will
become official Oct. 14, according to publication in the Federal
, which also triggers the deadline for official challenges like
the one filed Monday by the National Association of Broadcasters.
released by the FCC June 2, will govern the process by which next year’s
auction of television spectrum is carried out. Petitions for reconsideration
will be due Sept. 15, 2014, according to Wiley
“It is a near
certainty that some parties will petition for reconsideration—the question is
how many and what effect it will have on the FCC’s timeline
for the incentive auction,” wrote Ari Meltzer on the Wiley Rein blog.
The National Association of Broadcasters filed theirs
Aug. 18, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. to enjoin a portion of
the rules that outlines the methodology for post-auction channel repacking.
The rules as they stand clear a portion of the TV spectrum band, comprising around
300 MHz between 54 and 698 MHz. Other occupants of the band include radio
astronomy, FM radio, aeronautical navigation and a variety of fixed and mobile
satellite services. In its 2010 National Broadband Plan, the commission
proposed reassigning 120 MHz, or around 40 percent, of the TV spectrum for
The nature of the auction makes the final sum of surrendered spectrum
speculative, however, because broadcasters are under no obligation to give up
their licensed spectrum. Participation is voluntary. The incentive auction
framework was created to give broadcasters who voluntarily relinquish spectrum
a cut of the proceeds. It’s not yet known how many stations are interested in
the deal. A group of those that are, led by former ABC president, Preston
Padden, comprises 80 Class and full-power TV stations, Padden said in an Aug.
14 ex parte filing
with the FCC.
The filing described a meeting among several FCC officials and members of
Padden’s group, the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition in which
the latter stressed transparency during the auction process.
The incentive auction is set up as a two-phase process, in which individual TV
station values are determined in a reverse auction and offered in a forward
auction if the licensee accepts the price. The process will be carried out for
Stations that give up all or part of their 6 MHz channel assignment may elect
to go off the air, share a channel with another licensee, or move to a new VHF
assignment. Broadcasters are granted anonymity in the process.
Padden’s group wants the FCC to disclose its reserve prices for auction-eligible
stations right away, and data about bid amounts, number of participating
stations, and how much spectrum remains in play between rounds.