The FCC set the initial clearing target of 126 megahertz for the Broadcast TV Spectrum incentive auction at the end of April. Bidding in the Reverse Auction (Auction 1001) will start on May 31. Along with spectrum target, the commission set up the associated band plan for the Forward Auction (Auction 1002).
“Today’s announcement reflects the voluntary decision by many broadcasters that this auction truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The 126 MHz initial clearing target ensures that wireless carriers and other forward auction bidders have their chance to compete for the maximum amount of low-band ‘beachfront’ spectrum,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a prepared statement. “The wireless industry has said it needs additional spectrum to meet growing customer demand and usher in the age of 5G. The broadcasters have stepped up and done their part to fulfill that demand.”
Under the band plan, 100 megahertz, or 10 paired blocks, of licensed spectrum will be offered in the forward auction on a near-nationwide basis. The spectrum is divided into two categories, based on the amount of incumbent licensees that “impair” the spectrum. Category 1 blocks are zero to 15 percent impaired, and Category 2 is 15 percent to 50 percent impaired.
The Forward Auction will consist of 97 percent Category 1 blocks, and 99 percent of those blocks will be zero percent impaired.
“The initial clearing target announced is the highest possible clearing target and associated band plan for which the provisional assignment satisfies the optimization objectives and the near-nationwide standard for impairments,” the commission wrote in its decision. The FCC has notified the broadcasters as to whether they will be participating in the reverse auction.