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The FCC gets serious about spectrum refarming

The spectrum refarming process is picking up speed in the US.

The auction process will have three parts. In the first, the F.C.C. will conduct a reverse auction to determine which holders of broadcast television licenses will submit bids to voluntarily give up their spectrum rights in exchange for payment.

In addition to seeking the broadcasters that will give up their licenses and go off the air, the agency will also consider whether to allow alternatives, like agreeing to allow broadcasters to share spectrum with another station or to move from a UHF television channel to VHF, which occupies different spots on the dial.

A second portion of the process involves repacking — essentially moving and squeezing together the remaining airwaves so they occupy a smaller portion of the spectrum band, known as UHF. Once those bands of newly available spectrum are identified, they would be auctioned in the traditional format, going to the highest bidders.

Those three parts can be conducted either consecutively or concurrently, and the F.C.C. is seeking comment on that approach as well.

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