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Stage 4 Forward Auction Set to Begin Jan. 18

WASHINGTON—Bidding in the Stage 4 forward auction is tentatively scheduled to begin Wednesday, Jan. 18, the Federal Communications Commission said today. The commission said it would confirm the date on Jan. 17, when it also will announced the initial bidding schedule. The announcement follows another issued Jan. 4 stating that bidding in the fourth stage reverse auction—in which participating broadcasters accept or reject a provisional bid—would conclude this Friday, Jan. 13.

While the Jan. 18 forward-auction start date is not yet official, the commission told bidders to be ready.

“We anticipate that Stage 4 forward auction bidding will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 18. Forward auction bidders should be prepared for bidding to begin that day,” the announcement stated.

Bidding in Stage started Dec. 13 after the auction failed to close during three earlier stages targeting progressively less spectrum. The fourth stage clearing target is 84 MHz.

The auction started in March of 2016 with a first stage clearing target of 126 MHz. Broadcaster ask came in at $86 billion, wireless bidders offered $23.1 billion (before discounts) for the 100 MHz of spectrum offered. The Stage 2, 114/90 MHz configuration brought a $54.6 billion versus $21.5 billion spread. Stage 3 which broadcasters asked $54.6 billion and wireless bidders offered $21.5 billion for the 90 MHz offered. Stage 3 targeted 108/80 MHz and yielded a $40.3 billion $19.7 billion gap.

See more TV Technology coverage at our spectrum auction silo.