Most US TV stations are in the process of altering their broadcast spectrum licenses, resulting in channel changes, shared tech, and, in some cases, buyouts

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2017.07.14, Friday

Broadcasters, Cable Ops Turn in $2.1 Billion for Reimbursement

[Source: TV Technology]

So far, the tally for repacking broadcasters has come to more than $2.1 billion, exceeding the $1.75 billion set aside by Congress to reimburse qualifying TV providers displaced by the TV spectrum incentive auction. Estimates of these moving costs, including those incurred by cable operators to accommodate the channel moves, were due from each affected broadcast licensee on Wednesday, July 12.

The Federal Communications Commission today released its preliminary total of those estimates, with a few tweaks to come. Jean Kiddoo, chair of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force, issued the following statement:

“Based on information we have received as of 7 a.m.today, the aggregate amount of the estimated costs reported by reimbursement-eligible entities is $2,115,328,744.33. We expect to receive additional estimates from MVPDs and a small number of stations. In addition, the initial estimates that comprise this amount will be subject to a careful review by the commission and our fund administrator. The aggregate cost estimate provided today will therefore change for purposes of the initial allocation of reimbursement funds.”

The reimbursement fund was designed to cover “reasonably incurred” relocation costs based on a catalog of expenses adjusted from the December 2013 Widelity Report. The spectrum auction chased broadcasters off Chs. 38-50—spectrum redesignated for wireless broadband and purchased by carriers for $19.8 billion in an auction that concluded in April. Broadcasters accepted a collective $10 billion to give up the channels. Licensees that accept auction proceeds are not eligible for reimbursement.

Only full-power and Class A TV licensees involuntarily assigned to new channel assignments are eligible, as well as cable TV operator modifications done to receive new channel assignments. Also, TV licensees that voluntarily moved from UHF to VHF, from high to low VHF, and those that relinquished spectrum to share are eligible, according to the FCC’s May 2014 Report and Order, “Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions,” and in the Code of Federal Regulations.

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