The FCC this week gave some insight into its Stage 2 auction timeline when it told bidders the forward auction will begin within four days after the reverse auction ends.
The information – which was first reported by Broadcasting and Cable – was distributed as part of a notice sent to auction participants and confirmed by an FCC spokesman on Wednesday morning. The spokesman said the final forward auction schedule will be released the business day following the close of the Stage 2 reverse auction.
What remains unclear is exactly when the reverse auction will end.
Last week, the FCC bumped up the number of auction rounds per day from two two-hour rounds to three one-hour rounds. The FCC spokesman has previously said changes in the number of rounds are not a signal of anything good or bad, but are based on the auction’s progress and feedback from participants.
Stage 2 of the reverse auction was initiated after forward auction bidder in Stage 1 failed to meet the $86.4 billion price target set by broadcasters in the first round to clear 126 MHz of spectrum.
In Stage 2, the spectrum clearing target has been lowered to 114 MHz, which is expected to result in a corresponding dip in the broadcasters’ price target. The question of how much that figure will drop – and whether forward auction bidders can reach it – remains to be seen.
Some, including BTIG’s Walter Piecyk, have said it could take up to four stages for the broadcaster price target to meet forward auction bidding power.
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)