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Notice

Auction of FM Broadcast Construction Permits Scheduled for March 27, 2012; Comment Sought on Competitive Bidding Procedures for Auction 93

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

This document announces the auction of certain FM broadcast construction permits scheduled to commence on March 27, 2012. This document also seeks comment on competitive bidding procedures for this auction designated as Auction 93.

DATES:

Comments are due on or before October 7, 2011, and reply comments are due on or before October 17, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

All filings in response to this public notice must refer to AU Docket No. 11-146. The Wireless Telecommunications and Media Bureaus strongly encourage interested parties to file comments electronically, and request that an additional copy of all comments and reply comments be submitted electronically to the following address: auction93@fcc.gov. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Federal Communications Commission's Web Site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/​ecfs2/​. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and four copies of each filing. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Attn: WTB/ASAD, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
  • All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes must be disposed of before entering the building.
  • Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
  • People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language interpreters, CART, etc.) by e-mail: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: 202-418-0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.
Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Auctions and Spectrum Access Division: For auction legal questions: Lynne Milne at (202) 418-0660; for general auction questions: Jeff Crooks at (202) 418-0660 or Linda Sanderson at (717) 338-2868. Audio Division, Media Bureau: for FM service rule questions: Lisa Scanlan or Tom Nessinger at (202) 418-2700.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This is a summary of the Auction 93 Comment Public Notice released on September 12, 2011. The complete text of the Auction 93 Comment Public Notice, including an attachment and related Commission documents, is available for public inspection and copying from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) Monday through Thursday or from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET on Fridays in the FCC Reference Information Center, 445 12th Street, SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The Auction 93 Comment Public Notice and related Commission documents also may be purchased from the Commission's duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. (BCPI), 445 12th Street, SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, telephone 202-488-5300, fax 202-488-5563, or you may contact BCPI at its Web site: http://www.BCPIWEB.com. When ordering documents from BCPI, please provide the appropriate FCC document number, for example, DA 11 -1513. The Auction 93 Comment Public Notice and related documents also are available on the Internet at the Commission's Web site: http://wireless.fcc.gov/​auctions/​93/​, or by using the search function for AU Docket No. 11-146 on the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) Web page at http://www.fcc.gov/​cgb/​ecfs/​.

I. Introduction

1. The Wireless Telecommunications and Media Bureaus (the Bureaus) announce an auction of certain FM broadcast construction permits and seek comment on the procedures to be used for this auction. This auction is scheduled to commence on March 27, 2012, and is designated as Auction 93.

II. Construction Permits in Auction 93

2. Auction 93 will offer 123 construction permits in the FM Start Printed Page 60831broadcast service. The construction permits to be auctioned are for 123 new FM allotments, including 17 construction permits that were offered but not sold or were defaulted upon in prior auctions. Attachment A of the Auction 93 Comment Public Notice lists the specific vacant FM allotments for which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) will offer construction permits, along with the reference coordinates for each vacant FM allotment. These comprise FM channels added to the Table of FM Allotments, 47 CFR 73.202(b), pursuant to the Commission's established rulemaking procedures, and designated for use in the indicated communities. An applicant may apply for any vacant FM allotment listed in Attachment A of the Auction 93 Comment Public Notice. If two or more short-form applications (FCC Form 175) specify the same FM allotment, they will be considered mutually exclusive, and the construction permit for that FM allotment will be awarded by competitive bidding procedures. Once mutual exclusivity exists for auction purposes, then, even if only one applicant for a particular construction permit in Auction 93 submits an upfront payment, that applicant is required to submit a bid in order to obtain the construction permit. Any applicant that submits a short-form application that is accepted for filing, but fails to timely submit an upfront payment, will retain its status as an applicant in Auction 93 and will remain subject to the rules prohibiting certain communications but, having purchased no bidding eligibility, will not be eligible to bid.

III. Due Diligence

3. Each potential bidder is solely responsible for investigating and evaluating all technical and marketplace factors that may have a bearing on the value of the construction permits for broadcast facilities that it is seeking in this auction. Each bidder is responsible for assuring that, if it wins a construction permit, it will be able to build and operate facilities in accordance with the Commission's rules. The FCC makes no representations or warranties about the use of this spectrum for particular services. Each applicant should be aware that an FCC auction represents an opportunity to become an FCC permittee in the broadcast service, subject to certain conditions and regulations. An FCC auction does not constitute an endorsement by the FCC of any particular service, technology, or product, nor does an FCC construction permit or license constitute a guarantee of business success.

4. An applicant should perform its due diligence research and analysis before proceeding, as it would with any new business venture. In particular, the Bureaus strongly encourage each potential bidder to review all underlying Commission orders, such as the specific Report and Order amending the FM Table of Allotments and allotting the FM channel(s) on which it plans to bid. A Report and Order adopted in an FM allotment rulemaking proceeding may include anomalies such as site restrictions or expense reimbursement requirements. Additionally, each potential bidder should perform technical analyses and/or refresh any previous analyses to assure itself that, should it become a winning bidder for any Auction 93 construction permit, it will be able to build and operate facilities that will fully comply with all applicable technical and legal requirements. The Bureaus strongly encourage each applicant to inspect any prospective transmitter sites located in, or near, the service area for which it plans to bid, confirm the availability of such sites, and familiarize itself with the Commission's rules regarding the National Environmental Policy Act.

5. The Bureaus strongly encourage each applicant to conduct its own research prior to Auction 93 in order to determine the existence of pending administrative or judicial proceedings, including pending allocation rulemaking proceedings, that might affect its decisions regarding participation in the auction.

6. The Bureaus strongly encourage participants in Auction 93 to continue such research throughout the auction. The due diligence considerations mentioned in the Auction 93 Comment Public Notice do not comprise an exhaustive list of steps that should be undertaken prior to participating in this auction. As always, the burden is on the potential bidder to determine how much research to undertake, depending upon the specific facts and circumstances related to its interests.

IV. Bureaus Seek Comment on Auction 93 Procedures

A. Auction Structure

i. Simultaneous Multiple-Round Auction Design

7. The Bureaus propose to auction all construction permits included in Auction 93 using the Commission's standard simultaneous multiple-round auction format. This type of auction offers every construction permit for bid at the same time and consists of successive bidding rounds in which eligible bidders may place bids on individual construction permits. Typically, bidding remains open on all construction permits until bidding stops on every construction permit. The Bureaus seek comment on this proposal.

ii. Bidding Rounds

8. Auction 93 will consist of sequential bidding rounds, each followed by the release of round results. The initial bidding schedule will be announced in a public notice to be released at least one week before the start of the auction. Details on viewing round results, including the location and format of downloadable round results files, will be included in the same public notice.

9. The Commission will conduct Auction 93 over the Internet using the Commission's Integrated Spectrum Auction System (FCC Auction System). Bidders will also have the option of placing bids by telephone through a dedicated Auction Bidder Line. The toll-free telephone number for the Auction Bidder Line will be provided to qualified bidders prior to the start of the auction.

10. The Bureaus propose to retain the discretion to change the bidding schedule in order to foster an auction pace that reasonably balances speed with the bidders' need to study round results and adjust their bidding strategies. Under this proposal, the Bureaus may change the amount of time for the bidding rounds, the amount of time between rounds, or the number of rounds per day, depending upon bidding activity and other factors. The Bureaus seek comment on this proposal. Commenters on this issue should address the role of the bidding schedule in managing the pace of the auction, specifically discussing the tradeoffs in managing auction pace by bidding schedule changes, by changing the activity requirements or bid amount parameters, or by using other means.

iii. Stopping Rule

11. The Bureaus have discretion to establish stopping rules before or during multiple round auctions in order to complete the auction within a reasonable time. For Auction 93, the Bureaus propose to employ a simultaneous stopping rule approach, which means all construction permits remain available for bidding until bidding stops simultaneously on every construction permit. More specifically, bidding will close on all construction permits after the first round in which no bidder submits any new bid, applies a Start Printed Page 60832proactive waiver, or, if bid withdrawals are permitted in this auction, withdraws any provisionally winning bid which is a bid that would become a final winning bid if the auction were to close in that given round. Unless the Bureaus announce alternative procedures, the simultaneous stopping rule will be used in this auction, and bidding will remain open on all construction permits until bidding stops on every construction permit. Consequently, it is not possible to determine in advance how long the bidding in this auction will last.

12. Further, the Bureaus propose to retain the discretion to exercise any of the following options during Auction 93: (a) Use a modified version of the simultaneous stopping rule that would close the auction for all construction permits after the first round in which no bidder applies a waiver, withdraws a provisionally winning bid (if withdrawals are permitted in this auction), or places any new bids on a construction permit for which it is not the provisionally winning bidder. Thus, absent any other bidding activity, a bidder placing a new bid on a construction permit for which it is the provisionally winning bidder would not keep the auction open under this modified stopping rule; (b) Use a modified version of the simultaneous stopping rule that would close the auction for all construction permits after the first round in which no bidder applies a waiver, withdraws a provisionally winning bid (if withdrawals are permitted in this auction), or places any new bids on a construction permit that is not FCC held. Thus, absent any other bidding activity, a bidder placing a new bid on a construction permit that does not already have a provisionally winning bid (an FCC-held construction permit) would not keep the auction open under this modified stopping rule; (c) Use a modified version of the simultaneous stopping rule that combines (a) and (b) above; (d) Declare the auction will end after a specified number of additional rounds (special stopping rule). If the Bureaus invoke this special stopping rule, they will accept bids in the specified final round(s), after which the auction will close; and (e) Keep the auction open even if no bidder places any new bids, applies a waiver, or withdraws any provisionally winning bids (if withdrawals are permitted in this auction). The effect will be the same as if a bidder had applied a waiver. The activity rule will apply as usual, and a bidder with insufficient activity will either lose bidding eligibility or use a waiver.

13. The Bureaus propose to exercise these options only in certain circumstances, for example, where the auction is proceeding unusually slowly or quickly, there is minimal overall bidding activity, or it appears likely that the auction will not close within a reasonable period of time or will close prematurely. Before exercising these options, the Bureaus are likely to attempt to change the pace of the auction. For example, the Bureaus may adjust the pace of bidding by changing the number of bidding rounds per day and/or the minimum acceptable bids. The Bureaus propose to retain the discretion to exercise any of these options with or without prior announcement during the auction. The Bureaus seek comment on these proposals.

iv. Information Relating to Auction Delay, Suspension, or Cancellation

14. Pursuant to 47 CFR 1.2104(i), the Bureaus propose that they may delay, suspend, or cancel Auction 93 in the event of a natural disaster, technical obstacle, administrative or weather necessity, evidence of an auction security breach or unlawful bidding activity, or for any other reason that affects the fair and efficient conduct of competitive bidding. The Bureaus will notify participants of any such delay, suspension or cancellation by public notice and/or through the FCC Auction System's announcement function. If the auction is delayed or suspended, the Bureaus may, in their sole discretion, elect to resume the auction starting from the beginning of the current round or from some previous round, or cancel the auction in its entirety. Network interruption may cause the Bureaus to delay or suspend the auction. The Bureaus emphasize that they will exercise this authority solely at their discretion, and not as a substitute for situations in which bidders may wish to apply their activity rule waivers. The Bureaus seek comment on this proposal.

B. Auction Procedures

i. Upfront Payments and Bidding Eligibility

15. The Bureaus have delegated authority and discretion to determine an appropriate upfront payment for each construction permit being auctioned, taking into account such factors as the efficiency of the auction process and the potential value of similar construction permits. The upfront payment is a refundable deposit made by each bidder to establish eligibility to bid on construction permits. Upfront payments that are related to the specific construction permits being auctioned protect against frivolous or insincere bidding and provide the Commission with a source of funds from which to collect payments owed at the close of the auction. With these considerations in mind, the Bureaus propose the upfront payments set forth in Attachment A of the Auction 93 Comment Public Notice. The Bureaus seek comment on the upfront payments specified in Attachment A of the Auction 93 Comment Public Notice.

16. The Bureaus further propose that the amount of the upfront payment submitted by a bidder will determine its initial bidding eligibility in bidding units. The Bureaus propose to assign each construction permit a specific number of bidding units, equal to one bidding unit per dollar of the upfront payment listed in Attachment A of the Auction 93 Comment Public Notice. The number of bidding units for a given construction permit is fixed and does not change during the auction as prices change. A bidder may place bids on multiple construction permits, provided that the total number of bidding units associated with those construction permits does not exceed its current eligibility. A bidder cannot increase its eligibility during the auction; it can only maintain its eligibility or decrease its eligibility. Thus, in calculating its upfront payment amount and hence its initial bidding eligibility, an applicant must determine the maximum number of bidding units on which it may wish to bid (or hold provisionally winning bids) in any single round, and submit an upfront payment amount covering that total number of bidding units. The Bureaus request comment on these proposals.

ii. Activity Rule

17. In order to ensure that the auction closes within a reasonable period of time, an activity rule requires bidders to bid actively throughout the auction, rather than wait until late in the auction before participating. The Bureaus propose a single stage auction with the following activity requirement: In each round of the auction, a bidder desiring to maintain its current bidding eligibility is required to be active on one hundred (100) percent of its bidding eligibility. A bidder's activity in a round will be the sum of the bidding units associated with any construction permits upon which it places bids during the current round and the bidding units associated with any construction permits for which it holds provisionally winning bids. Failure to maintain the requisite activity level will result in the use of an activity rule Start Printed Page 60833waiver, if any remain, or a reduction in the bidder's eligibility, possibly curtailing or eliminating the bidder's ability to place additional bids in the auction. The Bureaus seek comment on this proposal.

iii. Activity Rule Waivers and Reducing Eligibility

18. When a bidder's eligibility in the current round is below the required minimum level, it may preserve its current level of eligibility through an activity rule waiver. An activity rule waiver applies to an entire round of bidding, not to a particular construction permit. Activity rule waivers can be either proactive or automatic. Activity rule waivers are principally a mechanism for a bidder to avoid the loss of bidding eligibility in the event that exigent circumstances prevent it from bidding in a particular round.

19. The FCC Auction System assumes that a bidder that does not meet the activity requirement would prefer to use an activity rule waiver (if available) rather than lose bidding eligibility. Therefore, the system will automatically apply a waiver at the end of any bidding round in which a bidder's activity level is below the minimum required, unless (1) the bidder has no activity rule waivers remaining; or (2) the bidder overrides the automatic application of a waiver by reducing eligibility, thereby meeting the activity requirement. If a bidder has no waivers remaining and does not satisfy the required activity level, the bidder's current eligibility will be permanently reduced, possibly curtailing or eliminating the bidder's ability to place additional bids in the auction.

20. A bidder with insufficient activity may wish to reduce its bidding eligibility rather than use an activity rule waiver. If so, the bidder must affirmatively override the automatic waiver mechanism during the bidding round by using the reduce eligibility function in the FCC Auction System. In this case, the bidder's eligibility is permanently reduced to bring it into compliance with the activity rule. Reducing eligibility is an irreversible action; once eligibility has been reduced, a bidder will not be permitted to regain its lost bidding eligibility, even if the round has not yet closed.

21. Under the proposed simultaneous stopping rule, a bidder may apply an activity rule waiver proactively as a means to keep the auction open without placing a bid. If a bidder proactively applies an activity rule waiver (using the apply waiver function in the FCC Auction System) during a bidding round in which no bids are placed or withdrawn (if bid withdrawals are permitted in this auction), the auction will remain open and the bidder's eligibility will be preserved. An automatic waiver applied by the FCC Auction System in a round in which there are no new bids, withdrawals (if bid withdrawals are permitted in this auction), or proactive waivers will not keep the auction open.

22. A bidder cannot apply a proactive waiver after bidding in a round, and applying a proactive waiver will preclude it from taking any other bidding-related action in that round, including placing any bids in that round or withdrawing bids (if bid withdrawals are permitted in this auction). Applying a waiver is irreversible; once a proactive waiver is submitted, it cannot be unsubmitted, even if the round has not yet closed.

23. The Bureaus propose that at the start of Auction 93, each bidder will have three activity rule waivers to use at its discretion during the course of the auction. The Bureaus seek comment on this proposal.

iv. Reserve Price or Minimum Opening Bids

24. Normally, a reserve price is an absolute minimum price below which an item will not be sold in a given auction. The Bureaus do not propose to establish separate reserve prices for the construction permits to be offered in Auction 93. A minimum opening bid, on the other hand, is the minimum bid price set at the beginning of the auction below which no bids are accepted.

25. The Bureaus propose to establish minimum opening bid amounts for Auction 93. The Bureaus believe that a minimum opening bid amount, which has been used in other broadcast auctions, is an effective bidding tool for accelerating the competitive bidding process.

26. For Auction 93, the Bureaus propose minimum opening bid amounts determined by taking into account the type of service and class of facility offered, market size, population covered by the proposed broadcast facility, and recent broadcast transaction data. Attachment A of the Auction 93 Comment Public Notice lists a proposed minimum opening bid amount for each construction permit available in Auction 93. The Bureaus seek comment on the minimum opening bid amounts specified in Attachment A of the Auction 93 Comment Public Notice.

27. If commenters believe that these minimum opening bid amounts will result in unsold construction permits, are not reasonable amounts, or should instead operate as reserve prices, they should explain why this is so and comment on the desirability of an alternative approach. The Bureaus ask commenters to support their claims with valuation analyses and suggested amounts or formulas for reserve prices or minimum opening bids. In establishing the minimum opening bid amounts, the Bureaus particularly seek comment on factors that could reasonably have an impact on valuation of the broadcast spectrum, including the type of service and class of facility offered, market size, population covered by the proposed FM broadcast facility and any other relevant factors.

v. Bid Amounts

28. The Bureaus propose that, in each round, an eligible bidder will be able to place a bid on a given construction permit in any of up to nine different amounts, if the bidder has sufficient eligibility to place a bid on the particular construction permit. Under this proposal, the FCC Auction System interface will list the acceptable bid amounts for each construction permit. In the event of duplicate bid amounts due to rounding, the FCC Auction System will omit the duplicates and will list fewer than nine acceptable bid amounts for the construction permit.

29. The first of the acceptable bid amounts is called the minimum acceptable bid amount. The minimum acceptable bid amount for a construction permit will be equal to its minimum opening bid amount until there is a provisionally winning bid for the construction permit. After there is a provisionally winning bid for a construction permit, the minimum acceptable bid amount will be a certain percentage higher. That is, the FCC will calculate the minimum acceptable bid amount by multiplying the provisionally winning bid amount times one plus the minimum acceptable bid percentage. If, for example, the minimum acceptable bid percentage is 10 percent, the minimum acceptable bid amount will equal (provisionally winning bid amount) * (1.10), rounded using the Commission's standard rounding procedure for auctions. If bid withdrawals are permitted in this auction, in the case of a construction permit for which the provisionally winning bid has been withdrawn, the minimum acceptable bid amount will equal the second highest bid received for the construction permit.

30. The FCC will calculate the eight additional bid amounts using the minimum acceptable bid amount and a bid increment percentage, which need not be the same as the percentage used to calculate the minimum acceptable Start Printed Page 60834bid amount. The first additional acceptable bid amount equals the minimum acceptable bid amount times one plus the bid increment percentage, rounded. If, for example, the bid increment percentage is 5 percent, the calculation is (minimum acceptable bid amount) * (1 + 0.05), rounded, or (minimum acceptable bid amount) * 1.05, rounded; the second additional acceptable bid amount equals the minimum acceptable bid amount times one plus two times the bid increment percentage, rounded, or (minimum acceptable bid amount) * 1.10, rounded; etc. The Bureaus will round the results using the Commission's standard rounding procedures for auctions.

31. For Auction 93, the Bureaus propose to use a minimum acceptable bid percentage of 10 percent. This means that the minimum acceptable bid amount for a construction permit will be approximately 10 percent greater than the provisionally winning bid amount for the construction permit. To calculate the additional acceptable bid amounts, the Bureaus propose to use a bid increment percentage of 5 percent. The Bureaus seek comment on these proposals.

32. The Bureaus retain the discretion, if the Bureaus determine that circumstances so dictate, to change the minimum acceptable bid amounts, the minimum acceptable bid percentage, the bid increment percentage, and the number of acceptable bid amounts. Further, the Bureaus retain the discretion to do so on a construction permit-by-construction permit basis. The Bureaus also retain the discretion to limit (a) the amount by which a minimum acceptable bid for a construction permit may increase compared with the corresponding provisionally winning bid, and (b) the amount by which an additional bid amount may increase compared with the immediately preceding acceptable bid amount. For example, the Bureaus could set a $10,000 limit on increases in minimum acceptable bid amounts over provisionally winning bids. Thus, if calculating a minimum acceptable bid using the minimum acceptable bid percentage results in a minimum acceptable bid amount that is $12,000 higher than the provisionally winning bid on a construction permit, the minimum acceptable bid amount would instead be capped at $10,000 above the provisionally winning bid. The Bureaus seek comment on the circumstances under which the Bureaus should employ such a limit, factors the Bureaus should consider when determining the dollar amount of the limit, and the tradeoffs in setting such a limit or changing other parameters, such as changing the minimum acceptable bid percentage, the bid increment percentage, or the number of acceptable bid amounts. If the Bureaus exercise this discretion, they will alert bidders by announcement in the FCC Auction System during the auction.

vi. Provisionally Winning Bids

33. Provisionally winning bids are bids that would become final winning bids if the auction were to close in that given round. At the end of a bidding round, the FCC Auction System determines a provisionally winning bid for each construction permit based on the highest bid amount received. If identical high bid amounts are submitted on a construction permit in any given round (i.e. , tied bids), the FCC Auction System will use a random number generator to select a single provisionally winning bid from among the tied bids. (The Auction System assigns a random number to each bid when the bid is entered. The tied bid with the highest random number wins the tiebreaker.) The remaining bidders, as well as the provisionally winning bidder, can submit higher bids in subsequent rounds. However, if the auction were to end with no other bids being placed, the winning bidder would be the one that placed the provisionally winning bid. If the construction permit receives any bids in a subsequent round, the provisionally winning bid again will be determined by the highest bid amount received for the construction permit.

34. A provisionally winning bid will be retained until there is a higher bid on the construction permit at the close of a subsequent round, unless the provisionally winning bid is withdrawn (if bid withdrawals are permitted in this auction). The Bureaus remind bidders that provisionally winning bids count toward activity for purposes of the activity rule.

vii. Bid Removal and Bid Withdrawal

35. For Auction 93, the Bureaus propose the following bid removal procedures. Before the close of a bidding round, a bidder has the option of removing any bid placed in that round. By removing a selected bid in the FCC Auction System, a bidder may effectively unsubmit any bid placed within that round. In contrast to bid withdrawals, a bidder removing a bid placed in the same round is not subject to a withdrawal payment. Once a round closes, a bidder may no longer remove a bid. The Bureaus seek comment on this bid removal proposal.

viii. Bid Withdrawal

36. The Bureaus also seek comment on whether bid withdrawals should be permitted in Auction 93. When permitted in an auction, bid withdrawals provide a bidder with the option of withdrawing bids placed in prior rounds that have become provisionally winning bids. A bidder may withdraw its provisionally winning bids using the withdraw bids function in the FCC Auction System. A bidder that withdraws its provisionally winning bid(s), if permitted in this auction, is subject to the bid withdrawal payment provisions of 47 CFR 1.2104(g) and 1.2109.

37. Based on guidance provided by the Commission in several competitive bidding rulemaking proceedings and on the experience of the Bureaus with past auctions of FM broadcast construction permits, the Bureaus propose to prohibit bidders from withdrawing any bids after the close of the round in which bids were placed. The Bureaus make this proposal in light of the site-specific nature and wide geographic dispersion of the permits available in this auction, which suggests that potential applicants for this auction may have fewer incentives to aggregate permits through the auction process (as compared with bidders in many auctions of wireless licenses). The Bureaus believe that it is unlikely that bidders will have a need to withdraw bids in this auction. The Bureaus also remain mindful that bid withdrawals, particularly those made late in this auction, could result in delays in licensing new FM stations and attendant delays in the offering of new broadcast service to the public. The Bureaus seek comment on this proposal to prohibit bid withdrawals.

C. Post-Auction Payments

i. Interim Withdrawal Payment Percentage

38. If bid withdrawals are allowed in Auction 93, the Bureaus propose the interim bid withdrawal payment be 20 percent of the withdrawn bid. A bidder that withdraws a bid during an auction is subject to a withdrawal payment equal to the difference between the amount of the withdrawn bid and the amount of the winning bid in the same or a subsequent auction. However, if a construction permit for which a bid has been withdrawn does not receive a subsequent higher bid or winning bid in the same auction, the FCC cannot calculate the final withdrawal payment until that construction permit receives a higher bid or winning bid in a subsequent auction. In such cases, when that final withdrawal payment cannot Start Printed Page 60835yet be calculated, the FCC imposes on the bidder responsible for the withdrawn bid an interim bid withdrawal payment, which will be applied toward any final bid withdrawal payment that is ultimately assessed.

39. The amount of the interim bid withdrawal payment may range from three percent to twenty percent of the withdrawn bid amount, with the percentage generally being higher where there is greater risk of bid withdrawals being used for anti-competitive purposes, such as when there is little need for bidders to aggregate permits. Because the Bureaus anticipate little need for bidders to aggregate permits in Auction 93, the Bureaus propose to use the maximum interim bid withdrawal payment percentage allowed by 47 CFR 1.2104(g)(1) in the event bid withdrawals are allowed in this auction. The Bureaus request comment on using twenty percent for calculating an interim bid withdrawal payment amount in Auction 93. Commenters advocating the use of bid withdrawals should also address the percentage of the interim bid withdrawal payment.

ii. Additional Default Payment Percentage

40. Any winning bidder that defaults or is disqualified after the close of an auction (i.e. , fails to remit the required down payment within the prescribed period of time, fails to submit a timely long-form application, fails to make full and timely final payment, or is otherwise disqualified) is liable for a default payment under 47 CFR 1.2104(g)(2). This payment consists of a deficiency payment, equal to the difference between the amount of the Auction 93 bidder's winning bid and the amount of the winning bid the next time a construction permit covering the same spectrum is won in an auction, plus an additional payment equal to a percentage of the defaulter's bid or of the subsequent winning bid, whichever is less.

41. The Commission's rules provide that, in advance of each auction, it will establish a percentage between three percent and twenty percent of the applicable bid to be assessed as an additional default payment. As the Commission has indicated, the level of this additional payment in each auction will be based on the nature of the service and the construction permits being offered.

42. For Auction 93, the Bureaus propose to establish an additional default payment of twenty percent. Defaults weaken the integrity of the auction process and may impede the deployment of service to the public, and an additional twenty percent default payment will be more effective in deterring defaults than the three percent used in some earlier auctions. In light of these considerations, the Bureaus propose for Auction 93 an additional default payment of twenty percent of the relevant bid. The Bureaus seek comment on this proposal.

V. Ex Parte Rules

43. This proceeding has been designated as a permit-but-disclose proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules. Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentations must contain summaries of the substance of the presentations and not merely a listing of the subjects discussed. More than a one or two sentence description of the views and arguments presented is generally required. Other provisions pertaining to oral and written ex parte presentations in permit-but-disclose proceedings are set forth in 47 CFR 1.1206(b).

Start Signature

Federal Communications Commission.

Gary Michaels,

Deputy Chief, Auctions and Spectrum Access Division, WTB.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2011-25277 Filed 9-29-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6712-01-P