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Earlier this week we witnessed the end of bidding in the initial stage of the world’s first broadcast incentive auction. We have now established the clearing cost for repurposing 126 MHz of licensed and unlicensed spectrum for wireless data use. The next step in this stage is to prepare bidders for their chance to acquire the 100 MHz of licensed spectrum in the forward auction. Here’s what comes next.

Bidder Qualification: Upfront payments – the refundable down payments that applicants make in order to establish their bidding eligibility for the auction – are due today at 5pm ET. Once we’ve validated which applicants have made payments, we will release a list of qualified bidders in mid-July.

Bidder Education:  Shortly we will release a user guide for the forward auction bidding system and an online tutorial.  Qualified bidders will then be able to participate in an extensive bidder training program, which will include the first-ever FCC “practice auction” and a mock auction shortly before the bidding rounds begin.

Clock Bidding: After the mock auction concludes, clock bidding will begin. Like the reverse auction, each round will offer bidders an incremental change in price for the licenses on which they’re bidding. If forward auction proceeds are sufficient to satisfy the “final stage rule” then the auction can close at the current clearing target; if not, then the auction is designed to run additional stages to match supply and demand.

Forward auction bidders have the largest possible nationwide supply of low-band spectrum available to them, and this summer they will have the opportunity to bid on it.  The end result of the auction will be the repurposing of as much spectrum for wireless broadband use as the market demands. We look forward to working with the bidders as they prepare.