FCC updates opening bid prices for broadcasters in 600 MHz auction, sticks to March 29 start date

The FCC made slight changes to the data it used to measure interference between broadcast TV stations as well as how difficult it will be to repack or move around the stations after broadcasters give up their spectrum in next year's 600 MHz incentive auction. As a result, the agency has reissued opening bid prices for broadcasters in the "reverse auction" portion of the auction. The FCC has also updated its filing deadlines for broadcasters and for carriers looking to bid on broadcasters' spectrum. The FCC reiterated that despite the changes, it plans for the auction to start on March 29.

As Broadcasting & Cable notes, Telemundo's WNJU New York station now claims the highest opening bid price for a broadcaster at $900 million, as WCBS got bumped down to $889 million. All other stations' opening bid prices were also re-calibrated, though an FCC official told Broadcasting & Cable that 99 percent of the prices changed by less than 1 percent.

Since the FCC wants to give broadcasters 60 days to evaluate the new prices, it is also moving and changing its application deadlines. The previous filing window had been noon on Dec. 1 through 6 p.m. on Dec. 18 for broadcasters to submit applications, but now they will have from noon on Dec. 8 until Jan. 12 to do so. Broadcasters will be able to make minor modifications or corrections necessary to complete their applications, and then, by March 29, 2016, each participating broadcaster that has completed an application must commit to whether it wants to sell all its spectrum, engage in channel sharing or move to a lower channel or from a UHF to a VHF channel. Carriers and other companies that want to bid in the "forward auction" also saw their application deadlines moved. Before they had from Jan. 14 until Jan. 28 to do so, but now will get from Jan. 26 until Feb. 9. Article