FCC Readies More Repack Funding

WASHINGTON—The FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau today announced it would make available an additional allocation of funds to full-power and Class A stations as well as MVPDs to reimburse eligible spectrum repack expenses. The money will be available in about two to four weeks, according to an FCC public notice announcing the allocation.

In Fall 2017, when the first allocation of $1 billion was announced, the agency said it would closely monitor the drawdown of the relocation fund and make more money available at a later date. “Our monitoring indicates it is appropriate to release an additional allocation of the available Fund…,” the notice said.

The initial $1 billion represented about 52 percent of the verified cost estimates at the time of commercial stations and 62 percent for noncommercial educational (NCE) broadcasters. Since then, “revised and more granular cost estimates” for reimbursement have become available. As of March 7, the verified and unverified estimates of costs submitted for reimbursement stood at about $1.95 billion.

However, the initial and second allocations will not cover the estimated total for eligible reimbursement, the notice said. Yet the allocations do give these entities sufficient funding to continue their transition to a new channel assignment “while preserving flexibility to respond to unforeseen changes that may arise while undertaking transition activities.”

The next allocation will continue to provide NCEs with 10 percent more of their verified cost estimates, the notice said.

Responding to the news, NAB EVP of Communications Dennis Wharton, said the association is grateful for the new allocation and intends “to work with policy makers to ensure that broadcasters are quickly and fairly compensated for these expenses.”

For more information on the repack, visit TV Technology's repack silo.  

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.