spectrum clearing target

Incentive Auction Stage 2 to Begin September 13 – FCC Proposal to Clear 114 MHz

Given Tuesday’s declaration by the FCC that Stage 1 of the TV incentive auction did not meet its clearing target (in that enough was not bid in the forward auction to cover the amount needed to compensate television stations for surrendering their spectrum plus the costs of the auction itself), it is now on to Stage 2.  The FCC yesterday issued a new Public Notice announcing that the second stage of the reverse auction will begin on September 13, 2016.  In this second stage, the FCC will try to clear 114 MHz of spectrum, instead of the 126 MHz that was the clearing target in Stage 1.  If the auction is successful in clearing 114 MHz, that means that channels 31 and below will remain in the TV band.

Yesterday’s public notice gives other information about the procedures to be used in Stage 2, and the band plan for the forward portion of the stage.  It also announces that an online tutorial will be available for TV broadcasters who are participating in the auction beginning September 1, on the auction website.  TV stations that were provisionally winning bidders in Stage 1 (meaning that their offer to go off the air or move to a VHF channel was accepted) will be able, according to the public notice, to determine the status of that provisional acceptance starting on September 7 by logging into the auction electronic system with their SecurID tokens that they used to place bids in Stage 1.
Continue Reading Incentive Auction Stage 2 to Begin September 13 – FCC Proposal to Clear 114 MHz

At the NAB Convention last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler discussed the timing of the incentive auction and how some of the remaining issues may soon be resolved. One subject of talk in a number of NAB sessions, as well as in the trade publications, has been how the repacking of broadcast television spectrum will proceed after the auction. Even FM broadcasters noted the potential for disruption of their operations as the repacking may affect shared users of broadcast towers, and given that hundreds of TV stations potentially face changing out antennas to operate on new channels in the smaller post-auction television band.

The Chairman made clear that the FCC will be announcing soon, perhaps as early as this week, the “spectrum clearing target” for the auction. In other words, the FCC will be announcing how much of the TV band it intends to try to clear for wireless broadband uses, based on how many TV stations expressed interest in potentially taking a buyout of their spectrum in their commitments filed at the end of last month. After the targets are announced, the FCC will quickly begin the reverse auction, a process where, round by round, the FCC will lower the prices offered to TV stations to abandon their spectrum until the FCC has committed to buy just the right amount of spectrum to meet its clearing targets. Then, it will turn around and repackage and resell that spectrum to wireless companies in the “forward auction.” The Chairman indicated that the clearing target may also signal the answers to many other issues.
Continue Reading As Incentive Auction Draws Near, Focus Begins to Shift to TV Spectrum Repacking – and Even FM Broadcasters Take Note of Potential Issues