FCC Prices Spectrum; Will Discuss Auction Thursday

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RqmymBBQN4dYfDstXXhkJEjydTi5bcz_JNEZSB6gMyeoxDy2VKwhUXurk5WZkrRdlRm9ZiwrKhP6_irZvx3CSAS5cc12r28v6q7J0YPr-WXueLbG8E0-ObytfgaurdhzluVQLWrt-Kqa3fTVLIirSrECVLTvikKPJWD1OQ=s0-d-e1-ftOpening prices have been set by the FCC on spectrum for the much-discussed March 29 auction. WCBS-TV/New York, rates the biggest apple of them all, about $900 million, according to documents released by the agency on October 15. But, that doesn’t mean owner Viacom can expect to get all that dough unless it gives up spectrum space all together.

The commission offered a four-option plan for broadcasters to consider that included giving up the space entirely, sharing some space, moving from a UHF to a VHF channel or from a high to low VHF, noted Broadcasting & Cable’s John Eggerton. But no matter how the pie is sliced, “There is a lot of money to be had by each individual broadcaster,” B&C quoted an FCC official briefing reporters.

“For potential Incentive Auction participants, today is a watershed moment,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, according to B&C.

“For all practical purposes, we’ve fired the starting gun: the release of final opening bid prices—combined with the detailed application procedures and other data released yesterday—provides broadcasters with all of the information they need to decide whether to apply to participate in the auction. Stations that miss the December 18 deadline will not be able to participate in this historic auction. Commission staff stand ready to educate and assist applicants as they prepare.”

In Washington on Friday, the National Association of Broadcasters told reporters covering the spectrum auction “NAB is reviewing this document and declining comment at this time.”

FCC’s top brass has placed the matter of the auction on their agenda and will discuss it on Thursday (October 22) during their monthly open meeting. Meanwhile, with the freshly released information on the auction, broadcasters now have enough details to decide whether they want to participate. The FCC deadline to decide is December 18.

The meeting at The Portals is open to the public. Audio/Video coverage of the meeting will be broadcast live with open captioning over the Internet from the FCC Live web page at www.fcc.gov/live.

October 19, 2015 |
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