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FCC: Final Repack Reimbursement Deadline Is Approaching

FCC seal
(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau (Bureau) have issued a reminder that the third and final deadline is Sept. 6, 2022 for entities and stations seeking reimbursement by the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund for expenses associated with the repack of spectrum that were required after the FCC’s incentive auction of broadcast spectrum.

All low power TV and TV translator (LPTV/translator) stations, multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), and FM stations, as well as a small number of full power TV stations that were granted extensions of the first or second invoice filing deadlines, must submit all remaining invoices in the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund no later than September 6, 2022, the agency said. 

The FCC also stressed that entities do not need to wait for the deadline to submit all remaining invoices and initiate close-out procedures and that all those seeing reimbursement are encouraged to make submissions as soon as possible.  

In 2012, Congress mandated that the FCC conduct an incentive auction of broadcast television spectrum as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 ("Spectrum Act"), the FCC said. “The Spectrum Act appropriated $1.75 billion to the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund for costs reasonably incurred by Full Power and Class A broadcast television licensees reassigned to new channels ("repack"), as well as Multichannel Video Programming Distributors ("MVPDs") that incurred costs related to continuing to carry the signals of reassigned broadcast stations,” the FCC said. 

The 2018 Reimbursement Expansion Act appropriated $1 billion in additional funds for the Reimbursement Fund and expanded those entities eligible for reimbursement to Low Power Television Stations ("LPTVs"), television translators ("TV translators"), and FM stations affected by the repack.

The FCC said that close-out procedures were announced over three years ago on February 16, 2019 and earlier this year the agency announced a final allocation and streamlined the close-out procedures.

Given the lengthy advance warning the FCC said that “extensions of the assigned invoice submission deadlines should therefore not be required” but added that “an entity requesting a limited extension will have to provide evidence that circumstances requiring the extension were outside of its control, such as local zoning or a force majeure event occurring proximate to the final submission deadline.”

The FCC also noted that the Fund Administrator “will initiate close out for any entity that has failed to initiate the process by the invoice filing deadline assigned to that entity.  Any unused allocations made to that entity’s account will be returned to the Fund and made available for allocation to other program participants.”

The FCC also reminded “participants that they must retain documents for a period ending 10 years after the date they receive their final payments from the Reimbursement Fund” and that they may be subject to “audits, data validations, and site visits at any time during the repack and reimbursement process.”

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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.