FCC Repack Protection Application Deadline is Official

WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission’s May 29 deadline for TV license applications became official this week on publication in the Federal Register.

“This is the date by which full-power and Class A facilities must be licensed or have on file with the commission a license to cover application in order to be protected in the repacking process or be eligible for voluntary relinquishment of spectrum usage rights as part of the television incentive auction,” the FR summary said.

The deadline applies to certain stations the commission deemed to serve the public interest. The June 2014 Incentive Auction order afforded mandatory interference protection to full-power and Class A TV stations that were licensed as of Feb. 22, 2012. The commission also extended “discretionary protection to certain categories of facilities that were not licensed as of Feb. 22, 2012. With the exception of licensees left stranded by the destruction of the World Trade Centers, those facilities have to be licensed by May 29, 2015.

Some already had been licensed when the commission announced the deadline in late January. Others that remained unauthorized were described as falling into one of three categories: Full-power stations seeking a channel substation, particularly stations squeezed out of Ch. 51 by adjacent 700 MHz wireless providers who complained of interference; those with compliant modified facilities construction permits; and Class A digital facilities not initially licensed after Feb. 22, 2012.

The commission said the May 29 deadline constitutes notice of the last opportunity before the Pre-Auction Licensing Deadline for all full power and Class A licensees to modify their licenses to fix errors they have made in providing us their operating parameters and to have those modifications protected in the repacking process.

Class A and low-power TV stations were not subject to the same June 2009 digital transition deadline as full-power licensees. The LPTV and Class A digital facilities deadline is Sept. 1, 2015. Class A stations that don’t have digital facilities licensed by May 29, 2015, will be granted interference protection “based only on the coverage area and population served by their analog facilities,” the commission said.