FCC Spectrum Auction Tops $86 Billion

By Mark Joyella 

The FCC reverse spectrum auction that effectively began in March has concluded with the agency promising to pay broadcasters more than $86 billion.

TVNewsCheck reports the estimate comes with a catch: it’s not yet clear if the FCC can actually pay that money out. If selling those channels to wireless carriers falls short of expectations, the commission “will have to redo the reverse auction in a second stage until the numbers line up.”

In exchange for payouts, broadcasters either go off the air entirely, or move from UHF and high VHF channels to low VHF channels.

The Wall Street Journal reports  among those that have filed to sell stations include CBS Corp., Univision, and some PBS stations. Seeking Alpha figures Sinclair Broadcast group, another seller, will use its proceeds to buy other media properties. Sinclair estimates it could bring in $2 billion from the auction.