Spectrum Auctions& Re-pack
FCC Reverse Spectrum Auction
Maldonado Law has represented broadcast clients in FCC Spectrum Auctions in Reverse Auction rounds. Windows for Spectrum Auctions cycles are based upon FCC need and Congressional authorization. The need for auction depends upon available broadcast spectrum versus demand for greater spectrum for wireless and other radio spectrum services and coverage area in major or underserved markets. The FCC buys the broadcaster’s spectrum at the lowest competitive bid for the coverage market area and places the acquired spectrum for purchase auction in the Forward Auction phase. Reverse Action participants are incentivized to participate by the FCC thought reimbursement of costs for any channel re-assignment of the broadcaster that may occur post action in a process called re-pack or spectrum repackaging. Forward Auction Participants are wireless companies and holdings who then bid to purchase the new spectrum available.
In the most recent FCC Reverse Spectrum Auction 1001, Maldonado Law was actively involved and offered the following services:
- Filing of Application to Participate in Reverse Auction under FCC Form 177
- Filing of acknowledgement of confidential status letter to confirm licensee’s participation
- Coordination with Auctions and Spectrum Access Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
- Advising clients on Bidding Procedures, Quite Period requirements and Auction rules
- Bidding on behalf of client through FCC online Auction System under Bidding Clock Phase(s) until final rounds
- Private communications to the FCC through the Auction System to clarify bugs or glitches in the prior Clock Phase
- Enforcing and managing Quite Period mandates for Auction clients
Maldonado law has severed as authorized representative to bid for Auction Participants in Reverse and Forward Rounds. This included determining acceptance of New Price Bid Offers in Clock Rounds and analyzing bid movement between Auction rounds to forecast future bids and planning for post-auction contingencies under re-pack of spectrum if client withdrew from auction bidding.
Post-Auction oversight of reimbursement of relocation Costs (under Re-pack) for broadcaster Channel Reassignment under Reimbursement Expansion Act (“REA”)
Once all bidding in the Reverse auction concludes, the FCC begins the process of reassigning all channels of the newly acquired and remaining spectrum. Broadcasters nationwide are given a limited period, with extensions determined by the FCC, to effectuate channel changes as a result of the Reverse and Forward Auctions. Those broadcasters that did not participate in the Reverse Auction must effectuate all equipment and facility changes in this process at their own cost. Those broadcasters that did participate in the Reverse Auction qualify for reimbursements of costs paid for their channel reassignments under a reimbursement cap set by the FCC for each station or facility. All costs paid for channel reassignment are submitted to the FCC for approval. The FCC reviews the costs and purchases to determine reasonable necessity of the reimbursement in the channel reassignment. If the cost is not reasonably necessary, or runs higher than the per item cap, the FCC may reject the costs. Careful planning and coordination is required in the channel reimbursement side of the Auction. This involves technical, managerial and legal teams to working together in assessing needs, working within the cap budget, vetting qualified venders, acquiring quotes, implementing contracted work, and ensuring timely delivery of purchase orders. Should the work experience difficulties, the broadcasters need to stand ready to seek STAs for reassignment deadlines set by the FCC or be ready to file a license to cover when operational under the reassigned channel frequency. Some of the services that Maldonado Law provided in the Re-pack and reimbursement phase of the Spectrum Auction included:
- Review of channel Reassignment Plan in conjunction with deadlines set by the FCC for the broadcaster based on region
- Vender contract negotiations and final contracts for equipment and labor under the station’s Reassignment Plan
- Review of costs in comparison with the FCC caps and procedures under the FCC Cost Catalog Approved Pricing
- Submission of Reimbursements under FCC Form 399under for per item reimbursement
- Monitoring of Post Auction Transition to be able to file an STA or License to Cover on behalf of client
Maldonado Law stands ready to assist Reverse and Forward bidders in future rounds of Spectrum Auctions announcement by the FCC upon future Public Notice.
Contact Maldonado Law to schedule a confidential initial consultation above our Spectrum Auction needs and learn about our rates and experience.
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