Deadline for Petitions on Auction Bidding Procedures Established

WASHINGTON—The last day to file a petition to challenge incentive auction bidding procedures has been set. Petitions for Reconsideration of the Federal Communications Commission’s Aug. 11 Auction 1000 Bidding Procedures Public Notice are due Nov. 13.

The deadline was established this week when the Public Notice was published in the Federal Register Oct. 14.

“As necessary, the commission will provide notice of any petitions for reconsideration received and establish a pleading cycle for oppositions and replies,” the FCC said.

The bidding procedures PN laid out the strategy for the reverse auction, in which broadcasters will be able to voluntarily sell their 6 MHz licenses, and forward auction, in which wireless providers bid on relinquished broadcast spectrum. It also included a spectrum clearing target range of 42 to 144 MHz—to be honed in on further after the commission has an idea how many stations will participate. Several other aspects cover how and where remaining TV stations may end up in the spectrum as well as international coordination.

The pleading cycle established for any “timely filed” petitions for reconsideration will be “applied to the National Association of Broadcasters’ Petition for Reconsideration,” filed Sept. 11. The NAB’s petition objects to stations ending up in a wireless no-man’s land after the auction. The commission is proposing that it be allowed to place TV stations that it cannot relocate in the reduced TV band in the duplex gap—the spectrum buffer zone between up- and downlink wireless bands.

“NAB asked the FCC to reevaluate two aspects of the incentive auction, whose procedures the commission passed in August on a split 3-2 vote,” the NAB said. “NAB’s motion requests the FCC reassess its rules allowing for the relocation of some broadcasters into the ‘duplex gap’ that the commission had previously proposed for the use of wireless microphones. In addition, the motion also asks the FCC to re-evaluate the level of spectrum variability the FCC will permit between markets in light of recent agreements with Canada and Mexico governing spectrum allocation.”

The NAB also filed a Petition for Clarification seeking information on how the FCC intends to determine which stations fall into the gap.

Portions of the Procedures PN could be read to suggest that the Commission is planning to relocate in the 600 MHz band only those television stations that do not participate in the reverse auction or do not participate in a particular manner,” the NAB said. “NAB requests that the commission clarify that all broadcasters will receive equal treatment in repacking , regardless of whether and how they participate in the auction, if their bids are not ultimately accepted.”

The TV spectrum incentive auction is set to commence March 29, 2015.