Clock Phase Auction Bidding Ends, Winning Bidders Focus on Frequency Blocks

Bidding ended in the “clock phase” of the forward auction on Friday. This means the broadcast incentive auction now proceeds to the assignment phase, in which winning forward auction wireless bidders can bid for specific frequency blocks.

The auction proceeds as of the end of the clock phase were $19,632,506,746, according to the FCC. Companies bid on 70 MHz of broadcast spectrum that will be re-purposed for wireless use. The clearing target was 84 MHz, which includes guard bands.

The auction began under former Chairman Tom Wheeler and will end under new Chairman Ajit Pai, who called the event a milestone. “The participation of these broadcasters and wireless carriers will enable the Commission to release 84 megahertz of spectrum into the broadband marketplace,” said Pai. “These low-band airwaves will improve wireless coverage across the country and will play a particularly important role in deploying mobile broadband services in rural areas.”

Now the Commission’s attention turns to the television spectrum repack. TV operators that need to move were soon to receive confidential letters from the FCC with their unofficial channel assignments. Those won’t become official until the Incentive Auction is complete, which won’t be for a few more weeks.

Pai pledged to devote time and attention to ensure a smooth post-auction transition; that includes “uninterrupted access to over-the-air television and a timely clearing of the new wireless band.” NAB EVP Communications Dennis Wharton agreed the agency “can turn greater attention to developing a transition plan that will protect viewers and treat all stakeholders fairly.”

February 13, 2017

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