The FCC announced Wednesday that it would launch Stage 2 of the broadcast incentive spectrum auction -- new rounds of reverse-auction bidding -- Sept. 13 and at the expected new, lower clearing target of 114 MHz.
That will mean nine paired blocks of spectrum, down from 10 paired blocks in the initial 126-MHz clearing target. That is also a total of 90 MHz up for bid, with the rest used for guard bands. The initial total was 100 MHz, with the rest guard bands.
Stage 1 ended Aug. 30 with the FCC falling $66 billion dollars or so short of covering the $88.4 billion it needed to close the auction at the clearing target of 126 MHz.
In Stage 1, the reverse auction took four weeks and the forward two weeks, so if past is prologue, the auction will last at least another six weeks, and more if the FCC does not cover the new clearing target and has to lower its sites once again.
The FCC set a high initial clearing target to attract broadcasters willing to give up spectrum, which it did. But wireless companies clearly did not put anything like that on the spectrum, or at least concluded they could get what they needed for less money.