Auction Slugfest Goes to Round 15

FCC gooses rounds to help speed process
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The FCC's spectrum auction will continue into round 15 after participants in the forward auction, stage 4, bid up the total price to 

$18,607,285,387 Monday (Jan. 30),  up about $24 million from $18,583,877,387 in round 14 Friday.

The FCC increased the number of rounds Monday from 2 to four to help move the process along.

Broadcasters' payout in the reverse auction has already been set at a little over $10 billion, with anything above that, minus $1.9 billion for auction expenses and repacking costs (or a total of about $12 billion), going to the Treasury for deficit reduction.

The FCC Friday released the final framework for the TV station post-auction repack and process for filing for their share of that $1.9 billion.

The auction has met its two price benchmarks for closing--covering the $12 billion and a minimum price in the top 40 markets--but it will continue while there is still any bidding by forward auction bidders (including Comcast/NBCU and Dish) in any of the 416 markets.

That was the case in round 14 in a handful of markets including Toledo and Dayton, Ohio, and South Bend, Ind. The auction has been edging up by about $20 million per round.

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