FCC Releases Public Notice on Auction 103 Information Disclosure

On Monday, October 21, 2019, the Office of Economics and Analytics and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“OEA/WTB”) released a Public Notice (“Notice”) providing information relating to an inadvertent incident allowing a public search of Auction 103 short-form applications for three hours on October 7, 2019 (AU Docket No. 18-58). The Notice discloses that as a result, the license area selections of a small number of applicants were viewed during that period, which goes against the FCC’s anonymous bidding procedures. All affected applicants have been separately notified by OET/WTB.

OEA/WTB “does not foresee any adverse impact on competition in Auction 103” as a result of the information availability. Nevertheless, certain affected applicants will be permitted to change their license area selections during a limited modification period in an effort to mitigate any perceived informational advantage. The Notice thus waives the Commission’s rule prohibiting changes to an auction applicant’s license area selection after the short-form deadline for those affected applicants who selected fewer than all 416 PEAs.

Written requests for license area modifications are due to the Commission by 6:00 pm October 23, 2019, and should be confirmed by the applicant no later than October 29, 2019, pursuant to the instructions in the Notice. The upfront payment deadline will not be extended for any applicant, and remains on October 22, 2019. The Notice reminds all applicants that the limited information procedures for Auction 103 are in no way changed by the availability of the license area selections, and any communication of non-public information may violate the Commission’s rules prohibiting certain communications.

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