TV Repack Reimbursement Developments

Posted on March 29th, 2018 by

A few recent, critical developments bear noting in the arena of getting funds to reimburse stations impacted by the repack of the television band spectrum into channels 2-36.

First, the FCC announced on March 8, 2018 that announced an additional reimbursement allocation for stations entitled to reimbursement. Initially, stations were only allocated 52% of their then-current verified cost estimates (62% for NCE stations) to cover up-front costs, down payments on equipment and other pre-implementation costs. While not announcing the amount of the additional allocation, the FCC has indicated that it will be made around mid-April. Stations will then have access to additional funds to finance their repack efforts.

Second, Congress passed and the President signed the Omnibus Spending Bill for 2018, which included an additional $1 billion for spectrum repack expenses, specifying another $600 million for eligible TV repack stations, and adding $150 million for reimbursement of LPTV displacement costs and $50 million for FM stations that may incur costs due to repacked TV stations having to replace antennas/equipment. The LPTV and FM station monies are the first time that reimbursement relief has been allocated for stations other than actual repacked TV stations and is a significant win by the FCC and broadcasters who lobbied long and hard for additional and specific funding. The FCC is expected to quickly implement its new Congressionally-granted authority.