Auction Communications Ban Partially Lifted

Late Monday the FCC announced it will send television stations confidential letters about their channels’ assignments as part of the re-pack. That’s due to happen within the next few days.

In the meantime, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is allowing a limited waiver of the communications ban — the ban prohibits communication between broadcasters and forward auction bidders about strategies and bids. At this point, the commission says “the ability of a forward auction bidder to use information about reverse auction bids or bidding strategies to manipulate the outcome for anti-competitive purposes appears to be remote.”

The waiver is limited to direct or indirect communications regarding any incentive auction applicant’s bids or bidding strategies in the reverse auction only. The waiver does not apply to the forward auction, so the communications ban remains in place for that. The Commission made the change, something broadcasters wanted, to facilitate the speed of the repack.