FCC Sets New $40.3 Billion Target for Airwaves Bidding

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By Lydia Beyoud

Dec. 1 — The Federal Communications Commission today announced a $40.3 billion target cost to clear television broadcasters off certain airwaves in the third stage of bidding in its incentive spectrum auction.

The target doesn’t include an additional $1.95 billion the FCC wants to collect to cover auction expenses and costs to shift broadcast signals to different airwaves.

The agency is trying to free up more spectrum for companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. to handle exploding wireless data traffic. The target figure is based on what broadcasters have told the agency they want to be paid to give up their airwaves licenses.

A fresh round of bidding by wireless carriers and other companies in the auction, possibly including Comcast Corp. and Dish Network Corp., is expected to begin Dec. 5.

If bidders do meet the third stage target, broadcasters such as CBS Corp., Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and Gannett Co. Inc. would give up 108 megahertz (MHz) worth of spectrum nationwide. Of that amount, 80 MHz could be developed for wireless uses.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lydia Beyoud in Washington at lbeyoud@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com

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