FCC Incentive Auction Update

Posted on June 1st, 2015 by

During May, the FCC released its finalized and OMB-approved Form 2100, Schedule 381, with instructions, that all TV broadcasters will have to electronically file – probably sometime in early July – using the FCC’s new LMS filing system.  The form seeks information verifying license accuracy and other facility information.  In its notice about the form, the FCC announced that in early-June, it will release a listing of TV facilities to be used by TV stations in verifying the FCC’s databases using Form 2100.  According to the notice, TV stations will have 30 days from the date the TV facility listing is published to file the required Form 2100 schedule.

The FCC also released three auction simulations designed to demonstrate what TV spectrum would remain or be repurposed, depending upon the FCC’s clearing target.  The FCC will not decide the clearing target until just prior to the auction.  Commissioner Ajit Pai released a statement in connection with the simulations that called into question their accuracy, specifically given that no information from Mexican TV interference was considered in the simulations.

Early-2016 is still the FCC’s projected timing for the auction, though it must still await the outcome of a decision by the 3-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court that, in March, held oral arguments on NAB’s and Sinclair’s challenge to the FCC’s Incentive Auction Report & Order.  In addition, the FCC itself must issue a decision addressing various petitions for reconsideration of its original incentive auction order.  Reports are that the FCC will tweak some of its earlier decisions.  The FCC also has to issue an order on its auction procedures.

For June and July, full power and Class A television station licensees should remain alert for the FCC’s listing of TV facilities, and timely prepare and file the Form 2100, Schedule 381.  Notwithstanding the uncertainty that remains, the FCC is moving forward with confirming/refining its databases.