FCC Adopts Incentive Auction Rules

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The Federal Communications Commission has adopted rules governing the 600 MHz Incentive Auction.  The Incentive Auction Report & Order, which has not yet been made public, discusses broadcast television band repacking, the reverse and forward auction processes, and post-auction transition and regulatory issues.  The 600 MHz band plan will pair uplink and downlink bands in 5 MHz building blocks, and the Commission adopted Partial Economic Areas as the band’s service area.  The reverse and forward auctions will be integrated in a series of stages.  Each stage will consist of a reverse and forward auction bidding process, and additional stages will be run if necessary to satisfy the final stage rule.  The final stage rule is a reserve price with two components: (1) either a price or spectrum clearing benchmark; and (2) an auction proceeds requirement.  If the final stage rule is satisfied, the forward bidding will continue until there is no excess demand, and then the Incentive Auction will close.  If the final stage rule is not satisfied, additional stages will be run with progressively lower reverse auction spectrum targets and available forward auction spectrum until the rule is satisfied.  Some auction details, like the price and spectrum clearing benchmarks, will be determined in a later auction procedures public notice.  The Report & Order also touches on issues regarding low power television and translator stations, unlicensed operations, and wireless microphones.

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