As expected, and as we wrote last week, the FCC announced Friday that the reverse auction phase of Stage 4 of the Incentive Auction will begin tomorrow, December 12, 2016. The FCC also, as expected, confirmed that the clearing target will be 84 MHz, meaning that the FCC will be looking to clear TV channels above Channel 37. Television operators looking to surrender channels to the FCC, to be repackaged and resold to wireless users for wireless broadband purposes, will be bidding in multiple rounds each workday through and including December 23, with a break during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, recommencing on January 3. Full details of this Stage of the Incentive Auction are available in the FCC Public Notice, here. Obviously, after the completion of this stage of the reverse auction, there will be another stage of the forward auction at a time to be announced.
The FCC reminded TV operators that prohibited communications rule, about which we wrote here, remain in effect. That means, among other things, that any station that filed an application to participate in the auction last January, even if the FCC has informed them that their station is no longer needed in the auction, cannot share any information about the status of their auction participation.