FCC Boosts Repack Payback Cost Guides

WASHINGTON—Attention repack shoppers! The Federal Communications Commission has updated the cost guide for its reimbursement for moving expenses in the post-incentive auction move of TV stations to smaller spectrum quarters, boosting that cost estimate by 2.8%.

That cost guide is a catalog of expenses eligible for reimbursement from the TV Broadcasters TV Relocation fund Congress set up to compensate broadcasters for moving expenses and new equipment, as well as some MVPDs for re-tuning head-ends to receive the shuffled stations.

The guide is not an exhaustive list, but covers the most likely expenses incurred, providing a redetermined dollar amount that can be used in the absence of an actual price quote.

The FCC adjusts the price guide annually per the Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index (PPI), which was updated May 9.

Asked for an update on the repack at a congressional budget hearing earlier this year, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he thought it was going well and that he thought there would be enough money to hold all those stations (and cable operators) financially harmless in the move. But he said it was not just a case of handing out money, but of verifying covered costs.

Pai said he wanted to be able to report back to Congress that the FCC did not spend a "single dollar" on something broadcasters should be covering themselves. But he said the "core promise" of the incentive auction that broadcasters would be transitioned without having to pay "out of their own pockets" for a relocation not of their own making, was being kept.

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

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio WorldTV TechTV FaxThis Week in Consumer ElectronicsVariety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.