Broadcast spectrum auction opening bids top $1.2M

And they're off: The FCC set opening bid prices for the upcoming broadcast reverse auction, posting prices for a host of TV stations that will voluntarily auction their spectrum. Auction hopefuls -- namely full power or Class A broadcast television licensees -- have to get their applications in between Dec. 1 and Dec. 18 to participate in the auction itself, which begins March 29, 2016. By auctioning broadcast spectrum, the FCC hopes to free up the 600 MHz band for mobile broadband use. As wireless data use continues to soar, driven largely by OTT video viewing, the auction is taking on much more importance.

What happens to stations whose spectrum is sold? If they want to continue broadcasting over the air, they have two main options: moving from their current UHF band to a lower VHF band, or they can "channel share" with another station. See the FCC's announcement here.

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