FCC Seeks Comment on Incentive Auction Comment Procedures

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has adopted a Public Notice seeking input on procedures for the 600 MHz Broadcast Incentive Auction currently scheduled to take place in early 2016. The Public Notice is not yet publicly available, but according to a Commission Fact Sheet, parties will be asked to comment on a number of specific detailed proposals and crucial auction design issues, including:

  • the methodology for establishing opening bids for the reverse and forward auctions;
  • the components of the final stage rule;
  • application of the Commission’s Mobile Spectrum Holdings policies and the implementation of the spectrum reserve;
  • factors to consider in making provisional and final channel assignments and the order of priority in which they should be considered.

In particular, the Public Notice will discuss how the Commission plans to deal with impaired markets, propose an initial spectrum clearing target of 84 MHz, and set a price per MHz-pop benchmark of $1.25 for “Category 1” (largely unimpaired) spectrum blocks in the nation’s 40 most populous partial economic areas. This benchmark will determine when reserve-eligible bidders will be able to start bidding on spectrum reserved for carriers with less low-band spectrum in a given partial economic area. Comments will be due on or before January 30, 2015, and reply comments will be due on or before February 27, 2015.

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