Incentive Auction Update

Posted on August 28th, 2013 by

The FCC continues to inch closer to a Report & Order on the TV spectrum incentive auctions, expected later this year.  As part of those efforts, it continues to hold seminars and conduct various other actions to gather information necessary to adopt auction and repacking procedures.

 On August 22, 2013, the FCC held a webinar to discuss the latest version of its TV Study software to be used in performing interference analyses during the repacking process.  We are now on Version 1.2.7 of the TV Study software.  One of the latest changes allows cross-border interference studies for Canadian and Mexican stations.

 An early August 2013 presentation to the Commission by the Incentive Auction Task Force included a few interesting notes.  The Task Force is apparently working “directly” with broadcast and cable industries on transition planning and reimbursement issues, reviewing preliminary findings on cost models, timing, and logistics of the transition, and has begun long-term planning for a Fund Administrator.  Next up on the reimbursement front is a planned release of “preliminary reimbursement cost guidelines” for public comment, and a workshop in September on “broadcaster transition and reimbursement processes.”  As of this writing, no dates have been announced for the release or workshop.  We suspect that a path forward on reimbursement mechanisms has been decided upon, and the release and workshop will present opportunities to understand and shoot holes in the FCC’s gameplan.  That seems a little backward, but that’s no different than most of this process to date.  All broadcaster eyes should be focused on this process, as the reimbursement mechanisms could well present a “make or break” situation for the future of a station affected by repacking.