FCC publishes starting offers for TV stations in spectrum auction
It’s been a while in the making and it’s going to be a while to follow it all. But as the fight for 600MHz is garnering a lot of attention and a lot of strongarming by T-Mobile, we’re keeping tabs on the latest bit of the US’s public airwaves to transition from broadcast TV use to cellular network traffic.
And the latest bit of news on that latest bit of airwaves is that the Federal Communications Commission has announced opening asking prices for TV stations’ spectrums.
Stations that currently broadcast near or in the 600MHz range have the options to either move to a lower frequency or go off-air, possibly continuing operations via cable and/or online.
There’s huge money to be had here from prospective buyers (the cell carriers). Take WCBS-TV, virtual channel 2 in New York — it’s real broadcast frequency is close enough to the 600MHz range to be of major importance:
- If WCBS decides to move its real frequency to between channels 7 and 13, the FCC would set the opening $360 million to the station.
- If it moves down to between channels 2 and 6, the FCC $675 million.
- And if the station decides to go off-air completely, WCBS could be getting at least $900 million from the auction.
Many of the nation’s 2,000-plus stations from Chicago to Champaign-Urbana to North Platte, Nebraska are being offered payouts starting in the millions. It’s likely that only a few stations will take down their transmitters, but the possibility’s there for some big cell gains.
Stations that want to participate in the process will have to file their applications between the first and 18th of December. The auction’s scheduled to begin on March 29, 2016.