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The Federal Communications Commission Announces Results of Broadcast Television Auction

By Barry Skidelsky

On April 13th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made public the results of its so-called "incentive auction", which began about one year ago, whereby the broadcast television station spectrum was relinquished to be repurposed in support of U.S. consumers' growing demands for mobile broadband.

According to an FCC News Release, a total of $19.8 billion of gross revenue was realized by the federal government for an aggregate 70 MHz of nation-wide spectrum. Of those proceeds, approximately $10 billion will be disbursed to 175 television broadcasters who participated in the so-called "reverse" stage of the auction.

30 of those 175 broadcasters will relocate to a lower channel, and the remaining 145 will relinquish their licenses. However, the latter group is planning to stay on-the-air via channel-sharing agreements with other television broadcasters who did not participate in the auction. The broadcasters will be required to complete their transitions within 39 months.

Among the largest of the 50 successful bidders in the so-called "forward" stage of the auction were: T-Mobile, US Cellular, Dish, and Comcast. More specific details are provided in and linked to the FCC's News Release (https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-344397A1.pdf), as well as in a companion summary sheet labeled "By the Numbers." (http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0413/DOC-344398A1.pdf)

Barry Skidelsky is a New York City based attorney and consultant with a nationally prominent diverse practice. He often works with other lawyers or law firms, as well as with individuals and entities directly or indirectly involved with entertainment, communications and technology. His background also includes service as General Counsel for several companies in those fields. A member of the EASL Executive Committee and co-chair of the EASL TV & Radio Committee, Barry is a former chair of the New York Chapter of the Federal Communications Bar Association (whose members' practices in part involve the FCC in Washington DC). Contact Barry at bskidelsky@mindspring.com or 212-832-4800.

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