FCC Reauthorization, Repack Fund Boost Signed Into Law


Despite concerns of a veto from President Trump, the White House on Friday (3/23) signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, paving the away for the first reauthorization of the FCC since 1990 and clearing the way for repack funds.

There’s also millions of dollars for public broadcasting, despite efforts from the Trump administration to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

For radio and TV broadcasters, the Act approves a repack fund to address the shortfall in funding available to relocate broadcasters being displaced following the FCC Incentive Auction. It also establishes new relocation funds for translators, low-power television, and radio stations that will be impacted by the repack—supplemented by a consumer education fund.

The new relocation funds will be allocated over two years, and includes $600 million for the first year and $400 million for the second.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai commented on President Trump’s signing of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 into law, saying Friday’s action “addresses a number of other important Commission concerns.  For example, it includes additional funding for the repacking of broadcasters required to relocate their television stations following the incentive auction.  And it streamlines redundant and, in some cases, outdated reporting requirements that divert the FCC’s time and resources from more critical work.”

Of course, it is also noteworthy because the Act constitutes the first reauthorization of the FCC “in decades.” Pai said, “Reauthorization helps our agency steer a path forward in our work on behalf of the American people, and I want to thank all of the elected officials whose leadership made this day possible.”

For CPB President/CEO Patricia Harrison, Congress was thanked for its longstanding support, saying the legislation signed by the president “reaffirms that federal funding for public media is an investment that continues to deliver proven value and service to the American people.”

The Act provides $445 million for CPB’s FY 2020 advance appropriation, $20 million for upgrading and replacing the public broadcasting interconnection system and $27.7 million for the Department of Education’s Ready To Learn program.