Beginning Monday, June 13, 2016, the FCC will conduct three rounds of the reverse auction per day, up from the current pace of two rounds per day. Starting with round 17, Rounds will occur from 10:00 am ET – 11:00 am ET, 1:00 pm ET – 2:00 pm ET, and 4:00 pm ET – 5:00 pm ET.
For those planning vacations over the July 4th holiday, the expedited schedule is potentially significant. Based on the UHF round decrements, the reverse auction can run a maximum of 51 rounds. At two rounds per day, the auction could have continued into mid-July. Under the accelerated schedule, however, Round 51 will occur on June 28th (subject to further change).
What does this mean for the forward auction start date? We don’t know. The forward auction will begin on the later of two business days after the close of the reverse auction or 15 business days after the FCC releases its Qualified Bidders PN. As of this writing, the FCC still has not released the Upfront Payment PN, which is the precursor to the Qualified Bidders PN. Accordingly, the forward auction cannot start until late July, at the earliest.
Update 3:16 pm: The FCC has now released the Upfront Payment Public Notice, setting July 1 as the deadline for forward auction applicants to make their upfront payments. Shortly after the upfront payment deadline, the FCC will release the Qualified Bidders PN.