LPTV/TV Translator Displacement Reimbursement Rulemaking

Posted on July 31st, 2018 by

The FCC has finally released a draft notice of proposed rulemaking on how LPTV/TV Translator stations displaced in the post-auction television band repack should be reimbursed for expenses incurred.  The draft notice is on the FCC’s August Open Meeting agenda to be voted upon by the Commissioners.  The legislation approving these funds actually gives the FCC until March 2019 to adopt rules for administering distribution of the funds, but hopefully they’ll act before then.

There are a number of open questions about how the FCC will administer the program, several of which potentially impact how much, and for what items, displaced stations will be reimbursed.  With the number of potentially qualifying stations, the total amount of funds made available by Congress may not be sufficient to ensure 100% reimbursement of every cost incurred.  The draft NPRM proposes that a displacement application filed in the now-closed special displacement window must be granted in order for a station to qualify for reimbursement.  If adopted that way, stations will want to scrutinize filed but not yet granted displacement applications to learn whether they are mutually exclusive with other applications, and if so, carefully consider resolutions of conflicts to result in issuance of a construction permit.

In the draft NPRM, stations accepting monies from T-Mobile for early displacement will not be eligible to receive reimbursement from the Congressionally-approved fund.