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LPTVs to Receive 85% of Repack Reimbursement ASAP, Says FCC

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WASHINGTON—Low power TV stations (LPTVs) can start seeing their repack reimbursement payments soon, as the FCC has announced that it is making 85% of the funds—which comes out to more than $87 million—available to eligible stations immediately.

In 2018, Congress approved $150 million for reimbursement of LPTV/translator station costs incurred during the repack transition process. There were 947 LPTV/translator stations that applied to be considered eligible for reimbursement funds, of which upon review by the Fund Administrator 844 were deemed eligible.

The eligible stations estimated that reimbursement would come out to $143,633,411. After review of those estimates by the Fund Administrator, a verified estimate of $102,437,198 was set for repack reimbursement. With the FCC’s decision to make 85% available immediately, the current available funds total $87,071,619.

Full power stations and MVPDs also received a portion of its reimbursement funds at the onset, but in that case it was 52% (62% for noncommercial stations). The FCC says it is helping stations avoid undue financial burden by having funds available right away, but acknowledges that it could revise the initial cost estimates if additional allocations are warranted.

“We believe it is important to make an initial allocation promptly and without waiting for greater visibility into any future changes so that LPTV/translator stations can begin to be reimbursed for their expenses, which in some cases have already been incurred,” wrote the FCC. “However, the existence of these upward pressures and consideration of the total $150 million designated for LPTV/translator means that we also need to take appropriate measures to avoid the need for future allocation reductions and claw-backs and assure that we allocate funds fairly and consistently across all eligible LPTV/translator stations.”

Each eligible station is set to receive a direct email that describes the precise allocation and the estimates that it was based on. Stations can also immediately begin to submit documentation of the actual expenses incurred for approval to be drawn down against their individual allocation.

More information on the reimbursement process is available by contacting Reimburse@fcc.gov.