WASHINGTON, D.C. — As RBR+TVBR first reported on February 6, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says the agency has made “great progress” since the close of the incentive auction and the start of the transition period in April 2017.
On Monday, the Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau released a 10-page report that largely mirrors what Pai shared about the status of the post-incentive auction transition and reimbursement program.
It also disclosed that millions of dollars in additional repack dollars are being allocated to 316 full-power and Class A stations that are currently allocated below 92% of their current verified estimates.
A further allocation of $68.1 million is going to those TV stations, and that will bring those stations back to the 92.5% allocation level selected at the time of the April 16, 2018
allocation, the Media Bureau and Task Force note.
“This increased allocation will permit those entities to execute their post-auction construction and ensure that any changed circumstances in the construction projects of these eligible entities do not cause the entities to be under-allocated relative to other program participants in a manner that might impede their transition project,” the groups within the FCC note. “Those stations receiving an increased allocation will be notified of their inclusion in this category and of the specific amount of their individual allocation via email. Additional allocation amounts will be reflected in the CORES account for that entity.”
Regarding the status of the repack process, they note, “the transition is off to a very strong start on all counts … the Transition Scheduling Plan and the Commission’s rules, procedures, and systems are operating as designed and anticipated. Significant progress has been made, and the transition is ahead of schedule both in terms of the number of stations that have already vacated their pre-auction channels and the amount of 600 MHz
spectrum that has been cleared and therefore made available for use by wireless auction winners.”
All of the 175 reverse auction broadcast television winning bidders have been paid,
representing an influx of over $10 billion to the broadcast television industry.
Some 41 stations permanently discontinued operations as a result of their winning
bid and the remaining 104 other “off air” winning television stations implemented (or in one case the station is in the process of implementing) a channel sharing arrangement. The 30 “U-to-V’ auction winners will continue to broadcast on their new channels. Thus, 134 of the 175 stations of winning bidders are still available to their viewers, now with the benefit of an infusion of capital resulting from their incentive auction awards.
Meanwhile, repacked stations have successfully completed the first of the 10 phases in the Transition Scheduling Plan. All stations assigned to phase 1 as of the November 30, 2018, completion date successfully met the phase completion deadline. Furthermore, a significant number of transitioning stations were granted permission pursuant to the flexibility in the Transition Scheduling Plan to change channels ahead of schedule, the Media Bureau and Task Force note.
” We are optimistic that the stations in upcoming phases will similarly be able to meet their
phase completion dates and are continuing to monitor and work with them to ensure the continued success of the transition plan,” they added.
With regard to LPTV/translator stations, of the approximately 2,160 displacement
applications filed by LPTV/translator stations, over 95% have been acted on as of Monday (2/11). “Should applications remain mutually exclusive after we have completed processing applications filed during the Settlement Window, a schedule will be set for them to be subject to the Commission’s competitive bidding rules. The Commission is also in the process of completing a rulemaking to establish eligibility requirements, develop procedures for reimbursing LPTV/translator and FM stations, and identify reasonably incurred costs associated with their post-auction transition,” the groups note.
The REA established a one-year time frame for completion of the proceeding, which ends on March 23.
As of February 6, the total verified estimated cost estimates for full power and
Class A stations and MVPDs is $1,902,166,871. As a result of the new allocation and all previous allocations, the total allocated amount is now $1,808,722,301.