WASHINGTON—The repack is approaching the home stretch, according to the latest update provided by the FCC that details that 697 of 987 repacked stations have moved from their pre-auction channel (71%).
Those numbers, included in a FCC report from Dec. 9, were accurate as of Dec. 6.
In addition to the nearly 700 hundred stations that have made their move to their new channel, the FCC says it anticipates about another 80 stations in Phase 7 will make their transition be the phase completion date of Jan. 17, 2020. There are 10 total phases scheduled to complete the repack, with the current date for completion of Phase 10 set for July 3, 2020.
“We are optimistic that the stations in the last three phases will similarly be able to meet their phase completion dates. We will continue to monitor and work with those stations to ensure the continued success of the Transition Scheduling Plan,” the report read.
Of the 697 stations that have moved off their previous channel, the FCC says that 79% have fully completed their transition to permanent facilities as of Dec. 6. The remaining 21% of stations have been granted permission to operate on an interim basis at variance from what was agreed to in their post-auction construction permit.
The FCC also updated its cost estimates from full power, Class and MVPD stations. Initially, estimates were more than $2.1 billion for all stations, but as of Dec. 6 the estimates for all stations totaled $1,951,302,007. To date, the FCC says it has reimbursed $886,033,437 to stations—$860,144,147 to full power TV stations; $25,664,778 to Class A stations; and $224,512 to MVPDs.
The commission also noted that it has helped educate consumers needing to rescan their over-the-air TVs to find the repacked channels. It reports that its FCC.gov/TVrescan webpage has received 2.1 million hits since launching in 2018. It has also issued radio and print ads, and launched a dedicated call center in 2019.
There are some in the industry, however, who question whether or not the repack can be fully completed in the timeline laid out by the FCC.
For more information on the repack, visit TV Technology's repack silo.