A Groundbreaking Event for the Broadcast Television, Mobile Wireless, and Technology Sectors of the U.S. Economy

The Incentive Auction is an innovative new tool authorized by Congress to help the Commission meet the Nation’s growing spectrum needs. The first incentive auction is to be that of broadcast television spectrum. It will marry the economics of wireless providers’ demand for spectrum with the economics of television broadcasters, the current holders of spectrum allow market forces to determine the highest and best uses of spectrum.

Specifically, the first ever incentive auction of television broadcast spectrum will permit television broadcasters to voluntarily go off the air, share their spectrum or move channels in exchange for receiving part of the proceeds from auctioning that spectrum to wireless providers to support 211st century wireless broadband needs.
The Learn Everything About Reverse Auctions Now Program (LEARN) is designed to provide broadcasters and all stakeholders with valuable information about the incentive auction and the potential financial opportunities it offers broadcasters who voluntarily decide to participate.
The Incentive Auction Process
  • The FCC launched the process of implementing the incentive auction in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on October 2, 2012.
  • On May 15, 2014 the FCC adopted a Report and Order establishing the general rules for the incentive auction.
  • The Incentive Auction Task Force and the Commission continue to work on determining final auction procedures and resolving outstanding issues in advance of the incentive auction expected to be held in 2015.
Recent Releases
Chairman Wheeler Blog: Helping Broadcasters Make Informed Decisions
Information Package: “Incentive Auction Opportunities for Broadcasters”
Broadcast Incentive Auction 101 slides
Incentive Auction Timeline
OET Seeks Comment on Measurements of LTE into DTV Interference
Report and Order Released June 2, 2014
Report and Order Press Release May 15, 2014
More Resources

History of Incentive Auctions

Congress recognized the revolutionary possibilities presented by the FCC’s incentive auction proposal and, in passing the Spectrum Act in early 2012, authorized the FCC to conduct incentive auctions, with the first auction to be of broadcast television spectrum.

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The broadcast television spectrum incentive auction will be the first such auction ever conducted and, accordingly, requires a new and unique design. The incentive auction itself will be comprised of two separate auctions -- a reverse auction and a forward auction. The lynchpin joining the reverse and the forward auctions is the “repacking” process.

Innovative Auction Design

A Novel Design for a Novel Process

The broadcast television spectrum incentive auction will be the first such auction ever conducted and, accordingly, requires a new and unique design.

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Reverse Auction

The reverse auction is where broadcasters will bid to voluntarily relinquish spectrum rights in exchange for a portion of the proceeds from the forward auction. Learn about who can participate, what the options are for participating and more.

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The reverse auction is where broadcasters will bid to voluntarily relinquish spectrum rights in exchange for a portion of the proceeds from the forward auction.  Learn about who can participate, what the options are for participating and more.

The forward auction is where the potential users of repurposed spectrum bid for  new flexible-use licenses.   The FCC is familiar with forward auctions in the spectrum context, and has been conducting them for nearly two decades.

Forward Auction

The forward auction is where the potential users of repurposed spectrum bid for new flexible-use licenses. Learn about how broadcast channels will be converted into wireless licenses, the new 600 MHz band plan and more.

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Repacking

Repacking involves assigning channels to the broadcast television stations that remain on the air after the incentive auction in order to clear contiguous blocks of spectrum suitable for flexible use.

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Repacking involves assigning channels to the broadcast television stations that remain on the air after the incentive auction in order to clear contiguous blocks of spectrum suitable for flexible use.   The Notice considers only a reassignment of channels, not geographic moves of stations; however, a station that opts to channel share may have to move to a new geographic location – i.e., its sharing partner’s tower.

Transition

The transition following the incentive auction will be as efficient as possible without causing unnecessary disruption. Broadcasters that successfully bid to go off the air must relinquish their spectrum within three months of receiving their auction payments and broadcasters remaining on the air will have up to 39 months after the repacking process becomes effective to move to their new channel assignments.

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Videos

Workshop on Feasibility Checking during Repacking Process, February 14, 2014
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Workshop on Interservice Interference Prediction , February 14, 2014
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Workshop to Discuss Unlicensed Spectrum Issues, November 8, 2013
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