Following Steps on the Road to the Incentive Auction

Earlier this month, the Commission adopted the Incentive Auction Bidding Procedures General public Notice, which sets March twenty nine, 2016 as the start date from the first-ever incentive auction. This drop, staff will release detailed information on the application process and announce the reverse auction opening bid prices. We will then start taking applications. These days we lay out the roadmap for the critical next steps and format the actions that will occur after the programs are submitted.

Application Procedures Public Notice . In early fall, we plan to release the Application Processes Public Notice . It will describe the nuts and bolts from the auction application process and post-auction procedures, including the opening dates for your application filing windows, the filing deadline, the schedule for make fun of auctions, and the information required within the auction application forms.

Opening Bid Prices – Reverse Auction . We will publicly announce the reverse auction opening bid prices for those broadcasters no later than over 8 weeks before the deadline for reverse public sale applications established in the Application Procedures Public Notice . The opening bid prices will be calculated using the formula already followed by the Commission in the Bidding Procedures Public Notice , applying the final TV-to-TV constraints plus interference-free population data for each place that we will also publicly release.

Opening Bid Prices – Forward Auction . For that forward auction, the Bidding Procedures Public Notice established the upfront payment and opening bid prices for each bidding unit, described how bidding units are calculated for each Partial Economic Are (PEA), and described when upfront payments would be due. This fall we will release the ultimate table of bidding units in each PEA so that potential candidates can plan for making their upfront payments.

Starting the Auction . After we release the information described above, we are going to open the windows for programs to participate in the reverse plus forward auction; the application windows will close before the end of the 12 months. After the application deadline, FCC personnel will review the applications regarding completeness and accuracy. Broadcasters will have the opportunity to make minor modifications or corrections necessary to complete their programs, and then, by March 29, 2016, each participating broadcaster that has completed an application must commit to its preferred initial bid option. That commitment will bind the broadcaster in order to relinquishing its spectrum usage rights at the opening price applicable in order to its preferred option. If, within the auction itself, the price offered to the broadcaster drops, the broadcaster has ceased to be bound to relinquish its spectrum except if it elects to remain in the public sale at the lower price.

All of us thought it would also be helpful to format the steps that will occur after the applications are filed and the broadcasters make their initial commitments.

Determination of the Initial Clearing Target . After broadcasters make their initial commitments, the auction system will determine the initial clearing target plus associated band plan. Reverse public sale participants will have the opportunity to participate in the mock auction, and then the reverse auction bidding rounds will begin.

Forward auction applicants with complete applications that wish to become qualified to bid will be required to make their upfront payments after the clearing target and band plan are announced. After upfront payments are made, qualified forward auction buyers will also have an opportunity to participate in the mock auction. The first round from the forward auction will commence simply no sooner than 15 business days right after we release the list of experienced forward auction bidders.

Webinars and Workshops . We recognize that this is a great deal of information, especially for entities that have not took part in an FCC auction before. Staff members will therefore be offering 3 types of training this fall, could applications are due: workshops, webinars and an interactive on-line guide. We will also be providing a technical servicenummer during the application and bidding processes. We started this process last week with our webinar on channel sharing. Soon after Labor Day we will be offering the webinar on the Putting in a bid Procedures Public Notice just adopted by the Commission. Later in the fall, after the Application Procedures Public Notice is released, we will hold two workshops: one each within the reverse and forward auctions. These types of workshops will go through the application procedure as well as provide overviews of the reverse and forward bidding systems, and they will be posted on the LEARN internet site for reference. We will also be providing on-line interactive auction tutorials, that will walk potential reverse and forward participants through the application and bidding processes. The interactive auction guide has been a valuable tool used by the Commission since 2009.

We look forward to working with you to provide you with the information you need to make the incentive public sale a success.


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