Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Guest Blogger Stephan Sloan: The Big Big Number

I tipped my hand with my LinkedIn post on June 1st "The $40 Billion Blink" as to what sort of capital I thought would be required to clear 126 MHz in the Reverse Auction.

George Box famously observed that all models are wrong but some are useful. In this spirit I accept that my models are wrong but none the less support and illustrate reality. Though many of the industry professionals I respect have opined at much lower Reverse Auction clearing costs, I expect $58 Billion or greater. The histogram below presents the data from 99 iterations modeling the Reverse Auction.

What this data means is that I can construct models that indicate a high probability that the clearing cost is more than $58 Billion and costs exceeding $60 Billion are a significant possibility. This represents a range of approximately $1.72 to $1.93 /MHz/Pop. If you accept the idea that the first round of the auction evidenced stations freezing based upon the requirement to meet the maximum possible clearing target, then we were bound from the moment the clearing target was announced, to end up here.

$58 Billion also has an additional significance to those of you following my LinkedIn postings. I’ve enjoyed very much the opportunity to post these thoughts and your responses. For my contacts who would like to take me up on it, I will wager a steak dinner– at the restaurant of your choosing- that the clearing cost will exceed $58 Billion. $57,999,999,999.99 or lower and it’s on me, just memorialize your interest in an email, tweet, LinkedIn Message or other dated communication before the FCC releases the data. I think a good reference should be the Incentive Auction dashboard.

I’ve been focused on this level of clearing cost since 126 MHZ was announced on April 29th. I look forward to discussing how this value is validated in the Forward Auction.