Multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) Comcast and DISH Network, Sinclair Broadcasting, and three of the top four U.S. wireless carriers have been listed by the FCC among 104 applicants for the forward phase of the incentive auction. Issued last Friday, the FCC’s public notice classifies 69 of the 104 FCC Form 175 forward auction applications as “complete.” No further action on these applications is required except as needed to notify the FCC of address changes and other minor modifications. The remaining 35 applications have been designated as “incomplete,” meaning that they contain deficiencies that require correction and resubmission to the FCC no later than April 6. For applications currently classified as complete or that attain that status once deficiencies are corrected, final eligibility to participate in the forward auction will depend upon timely submission of upfront payments as prescribed by a public notice to be issued by the FCC at a later date.
As anticipated, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are included on the FCC’s list of auction applicants. (Sprint and its parent company, Softbank Corp. of Japan, have opted to sit the auction out.) Rolling Hills Entertainment LLC, a venture backed by cable concern Mediacom, is also on the list, as is Puerto Rico Telephone Company—an indirect subsidiary of Latin American wireless giant America Movil—and DoCoMo Pacific, a vehicle of NTT DoCoMo of Japan. Although media giant Liberty Global also submitted an application, a spokesman affirmed this week that the company has since changed its plans and has “decided not to participate in the auction.” Thirty-five applicants have requested small business bidding credits and another 19 are seeking rural bidding credits. The applicant list also includes 25 individuals. Characterizing the bidder list as “long and strong,” one broadcast industry consultant predicted: “this will be a big auction.”