Initial Commitment Module preview period opens March 24 – would-be reverse auction participants should take advantage of it.

Talk about anti-climax! Well after the close of normal business hours on Friday, March 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied the Videohouse Three’s motion for a stay of the Incentive Auction with a single opaque sentence: “Petitioner has not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review.” No explanation was given about precisely how the motion had fallen short of precisely which of the stringent requirements. (While such terseness is often par for the course in such matters, the history of this particular case suggested that we might have expected more explanation from the court. So much for suggestions.)

And with that, the final threat of a court-ordered stay of the auction has been eliminated, clearing the way for the Commission to keep to its current schedule. That schedule calls for broadcasters to make their “Initial Commitments” no later than 6:00 p.m. (ET) on March 29, after which the Commission will process the available information, come up with a clearing target, and start notifying reverse auction participants of their bids. We don’t know exactly when we might expect those bids to arrive, but the Commission seems optimistic about getting the auction wrapped up before October, as far as we can tell.

With the auction still on track, prospective reverse auction participants should be sure to get themselves up to speed so that they’ll be able to make timely Initial Commitments. One step to take: check out our post providing the links to the FCC’s online tutorial and the recording of its workshop on the commitment process. A second step: get yourself to the preview site where you can set up your account and check out the Initial Commitment Module during the preview period that opens at 10:00 a.m. (ET) on Thursday, March 24, 2016. Doing that will let you confirm that you can access the FCC’s commitment system.

And the FCC also wants you to know that if you run into any problems, the staff is available to help. You can reach FCC Auctions Technical Support is available at 877-480-3201 (select Option Nine); 202-414-1250; or 202-414-1255 (text telephone (TTY)). The lines are open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (ET).