Fcc Channel Reassignment Public Notice

January 16, 2018 – Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth is proud to announce that, through its efforts, the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau division on Jan. 11, 2018 granted a request to allow 20 broadcast TV stations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to construct post-incentive auction facilities early. The … Continue ReadingOn Sept. 20, the FCC announced the second filing window for all full power and Class A television stations receiving new channel assignment as part of the post-incentive auction repack. The filing window will open Oct. 3 and close at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Nov. 2. During this “second priority” filing window, all eligible stations … Continue ReadingWith the release of the Incentive Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice (affectionately known as the “CCR”), the FCC officially draws the spectrum Incentive Auction to a close. The CCR is a must-read for TV broadcasters and wireless carriers alike. It announces broadcast and wireless winning bidders, sets deadlines and timetables for filings, and … Continue Reading
On March 29, 2017, the FCC released a Public Notice providing instructions to full power and Class A television broadcasters and Multi-Channel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) on receiving incentive and/or reimbursement payments following the closure of the Incentive Auction.  The Public Notice stated that, in order to receive payments, winning bidders in the reverse auction … Continue ReadingAfter teasing that such relief was coming, the FCC has confirmed a partial waiver of the limitations on communications for reverse auction participants. In other words, broadcasters who participated in the auction, regardless of whether they were successful bidders or will remain on the air, are now free to communicate with all parties about their … Continue ReadingIf you’re the owner of a full-power or Class A broadcast television station or are a multichannel video program distributor, and anticipate receiving a winning bid or seeking reimbursement funds from the Commission post-incentive auction, how will you get your money? The FCC has created an online tutorial to explain how this will work. To … Continue Reading
Input sought on revised catalog of likely repack expenses As we all know, TV stations forced by the Incentive Auction/spectrum repack process to modify their facilities will be entitled to reimbursement of their reasonable repacking-related costs. And as we reported a couple of years ago, to give everybody – FCC and affected broadcasters (and MVPDs) … Continue ReadingSure, we all still have a ways to go before the Incentive Auction wraps, but it’s not too early to start thinking about relocation reimbursements. As we all know, TV stations re-assigned to new channels as a result of the auction (and the consequent spectrum repack) will be entitled to reimbursement from the Feds. Ditto … Continue ReadingD.C. Circuit tosses LPTV challenge to auction/repack process, but $65 billion differential between forward and reverse auction bids forces second bid round with lower clearing target. On the Spectrum Auction front, August, 2016 ended in Dickensian style for the FCC: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. A victory at … Continue Reading
Slowly but surely the post-repack regulatory landscape for LPTVs and TV translators is getting established. Back in December, the Commission adopted a number of provisions addressing the predicaments likely to be faced by the LPTV/translator industries once the Broadcast Incentive Auction – and the consequent channel repack – and over and done with. As part … Continue ReadingEffective date of a Wireless Medical Telemetry Service rule is still pending. Last August we reported on a number of changes in the rules governing wireless mics and white space devices, and last November we reported that the effective date of some, but not all, of those rule changes had been set. The rules not … Continue ReadingBureau announces, sort of, deadline for eligibility for first post-Spectrum Auction displacement window. LPTV and TV Translator licensees have known for some time – at least since last December – that they’re going to need to be “operating” as of a certain date in order to be eligible for the first displacement window that will … Continue Reading
A couple of weeks ago we reported on the FCC’s announcement of the final steps in the run-up to the start of bidding in the clock phase of the reverse auction portion of the long-awaited, much-anticipated Broadcast Incentive Auction. One of those steps: an FCC-conducted workshop on the online bidding system that participants will have … Continue ReadingIt’s crunch time – so everybody looking to participate in the Incentive Auction should pay close attention. At long last, the Commission has announced the Initial Clearing Target that it plans to shoot for in the Incentive Auction, and it has set the dates for the commencement of the reverse auction. These are developments of … Continue ReadingAnnouncement clears up uncertainty, ideally encourages preparations that might move repack along faster. If you’re a broadcaster thinking about getting a head start on the incentive auction’s relocation process, you may be in luck. The FCC has announced that some repack-related expenses will be eligible for reimbursement even if they are incurred before the auction … Continue Reading
Last fall we reported that the Commission had released the form (official dubbed Form 2100, Schedule 399) to be used by repacked TV licensees seeking reimbursement for their relocation costs once the dust has settled on the Incentive Auction. While the FCC had declared the form it released to be the “final” version, that version … Continue ReadingSecond Confidential Status Letters are on the way! If you’re a TV licensee who submitted a “complete” application to participate in the upcoming reverse auction component of the Incentive Auction, be on the lookout for a package coming to you from the FCC. It’s your Second Confidential Status Letter (SCSL) – a/k/a your Golden Ticket … Continue ReadingFCC releases samples of file formats to be provided to reverse auction participants during auction. In case we were all figuring that the reverse auction was going to be a walk in the park, the FCC has given us a glimpse of Reverse Auction Future by posting the “reverse auction file format specifications” that will … Continue Reading
We have previously reported that one party (Latina Broadcasters of Daytona Beach, LLC) has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to stay either (a) the exclusion of Latina’s application from the upcoming reverse auction) or (b) the reverse auction itself. And now the Videohouse Three (about whose appeal we have also … Continue ReadingThe actual Module itself is not slated to become available until two business days before the commitment “window” opens. It’s “damn the stay requests (and appeals), full speed ahead” on the reverse auction front. Notwithstanding the frenzy of activity down at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the Commission has issued further … Continue ReadingAs the FCC plows ahead with plans to start its reverse auction process by requiring initial commitments by 6:00 p.m. (ET) on March 29, 2016, efforts by stations seeking a ticket into the reverse auction through Class A protection continue down at the D.C. Circuit. As we have reported, the Videohouse Three managed to get … Continue Reading
Be careful what you wish for, because you may get it. That may be what counsel for Videohouse is thinking just now, as the D.C. Circuit has granted their motion for an expedited briefing schedule. That’s good news for them, right? (Unclear on the background here? Take a look at this post and then come … Continue ReadingPublicly, the Commission appears determined to proceed full speed ahead, but a couple of FCC pleadings to the D.C. Circuit suggest otherwise. Pretty much since the FCC set out on its headlong race to design and implement the upcoming Incentive Auction, one of the Prime Directives appears to have been to get the thing done … Continue ReadingFirst Confidential Status Letters advising of potentially fatal incompleteness flaws have been sent to would-be reverse auction applicants; Deadline for corrections: February 26, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. (ET) If you’re a TV licensee who submitted an application to participate in the upcoming reverse auction component of the Incentive Auction, you should be checking your mail … Continue Reading

Post-Auction Transition Procedures

Repacking broadcast television stations represents a crucial component of the broadcast spectrum incentive auction. Repacking may also affect other broadcasters, even if they are not repacked. FM radio and television stations located on or near towers with repacked television stations may be affected by the repack, as workers will need to access towers to perform significant work needed to move repacked stations to new channels.

On April 13, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Closing and Reassignment Public Notice that lists the new channel, operating parameters, assigned transition phase and phase completion date for every repacked station. Repacked television stations have 90 days from the release date to file a construction permit (CP) application for facilities to operate on its post-auction channels, as well as a cost estimate for completing this work.

CP applications must propose facilities or modified facilities consistent with the technical parameters set forth in the Closing and Reassignment Public Notice. These applications will be considered minor change applications under the FCC's rules, and will be exempt from filing fees.

Stations may seek a waiver of the CP filing deadline if they are unable to construct facilities consistent with the FCC-specified technical parameters. Waiver requests must be filed as a request for Special Temporary Authority (STA) via the FCC's Licensing and Management System (LMS), with a copy sent to the FCC at IATransitionlicensing@fcc.gov . Importantly, grant of a waiver of the 90-day CP filing deadline does not alter a station's construction deadline.

After the 90-day CP filing deadline, the Media Bureau will issue two Public Notices establishing 30-day consecutive filing windows for stations seeking alternative channels and/or expanded facilities from those in the Closing and Reassignment Public Notice.

Each repacked station will be assigned to one of 10 transition phases and phase completion dates. The phase completion date will be listed on the CP as its construction deadline and is the last day that the station may operate on its pre-auction channel absent the grant of STA. STA will be granted only in "very limited circumstances" and will not extend beyond the end of the transition period. After 39 months, no station will be permitted to operate on its pre-auction channel.

Stations unable to complete construction of their post-auction facilities by their deadline may seek a single extension of up to 180 days. Extension requests must be filed 90 days before the station's phase completion date. The request must include a showing of reasons that the reasons for delay were either unforeseen or beyond the station's control. Additional time to construct beyond the 180-day extension may only be requested under the FCC's "tolling rule."

All extension applications will be evaluated to determine whether grant will delay or disrupt the post-auction transition schedule. A grant of extension of time to construct will not extend the time during which the licensee may operate on its pre-auction channel, regardless of whether work on its post-auction channel facilities is complete.

The FCC has provided that, to "minimize the time a station is off-the-air," stations may request STA to operate with temporary facilities while they complete construction. Requests for STA must be filed electronically and filing fees apply. All STAs will be limited to a maximum of 180 days and subject to modification or cancellation without notice at any time. STAs must not cause interference to other broadcast and wireless licensees and no STA will be granted to operate on a pre-auction channel beyond the 39-month transition period.

Stations in the border regions must abide by the technical parameters specified arrangements between the FCC and Canada and Mexico, as applicable. Applications in accordance with these parameters may not require additional coordination. However, applications for alternative channels or expanded facilities will require coordination. Stations involuntarily reassigned to a new channel are eligible for reimbursement of "reasonably incurred" costs. Stations must identify their current operational equipment as well as the equipment and services they expect to purchase to complete their post-auction transition. The FCC has prepared a catalog of eligible expenses to assist broadcasters in compiling cost estimates. Repacked stations may base their cost estimates on the catalog of eligible expenses or on vendor price quotes. Use of the catalog is optional; however, for costs not described in the catalog or that exceed the ranges in the catalog, stations should submit supporting documentation such as vendor price quotes.

The FCC will release a future Public Notice providing additional detail on the reimbursement process. All stations anticipating receiving reimbursement payments should setup an account in the FCC's updated Commission Registration System (CORES) with a username and password. Requests for reimbursement will not be processed until after the Media Bureau makes an initial allocation for stations that have timely filed reimbursement cost estimates during the 90-day CP filing period.

As stations get closer to the cutover to their new channels, they must take additional actions. Within 10 days after commencement of program test authority, a licensee must submit an application for license on its post-auction channel via LMS using FCC Form 2100 Schedule B (full power) or Schedule F (Class A) and pay the requisite filing fee. Further, stations are required to comply with certain consumer education requirements prior to the transition. In particular, stations are required to air either 60 seconds of on-air consumer education or 60 seconds of crawls per day for 30 days prior to ceasing operation on their pre-auction channel. Stations must also provide written notice to multichannel video programming distributors that currently carry the station.

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