The best way to Apply for the Incentive Auction

Just before Labor Day time we previewed the key auction breakthrough slated to occur this fall. The Task Force has already covered much of the ground on that list – and then some: we released the Application Procedures Public Notice; unveiled the baseline and opening bid prices for broadcast stations; and announced the particular bidding units, upfront payments, and minimum opening bids for forwards auction bidding in each PEA. We also released guidance concerning the prohibited communications rules and clarified our policy regarding the disbursement of reverse auction incentive payments in order to third parties.

Next week, the window for electronic filing of reverse auction applications starts. In anticipation of that important milestone, we’ve already kicked off a brand new round of reverse auction bidder education and training opportunities that will continue until the reverse auction begins next year.

Our academic efforts began with the posting of the online interactive tutorial that walks broadcasters through the pre-auction process, summarizes the technical and legal details of the reverse auction, provides an online demonstration of the reverse auction app (Form 177), and more. Broadcasters can learn about the application process at their own pace and from any pc. The Task Force will add to the guide in early 2016 to walk potential broadcast bidders through the bidding program and post-auction procedures.

Next week, on December 8th, we will be offering a workshop about the application process for broadcasters. Interested celebrations will be able to attend in person or see the event online. It will cover the particular pre-auction process and provide guidance on the way to complete and submit the application, including an overview of ownership requirements, route sharing agreements, the “red light rule, ” and the relinquishment options. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of FCC staff following the presentation, plus staff contacts are listed in the forms and materials for any follow-up questions.

When the software window opens, the Form 177 should go live. We’ve already released the particular instructions for the form, with which interested broadcasters can begin to familiarize by themselves even before we post the application. The particular instructions include technical and system support phone numbers for potential reverse auction bidders.

Lastly, next month we will release the document formats for the reverse auction round results data. The file formats will be of interest to broadcasters that may wish to download the results of each round for each of their participating stations, yet all bidders will be able to view their very own round results information on the FCC’s online auction portal during the public sale.

We also have several news for forward auction individuals. In November we released information file specifications for the impairment information that will be made available for download in order to forward auction bidders. Next, we will be releasing the file formats for forward auction round results downloading before the end of the year. We plan to make available Form 175 directions in early January, as well as an online tutorial for the forward auction software process.

We’ll convey more to announce in the coming weeks as we move through the applications procedure and get closer to broadcasters’ initial obligations on March 29, 2016. Till then, stay tuned.

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