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CEA, Others Advise Court To Reject Broadcaster Auction Challenge

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), CTIA: The Wireless Association, Competitive Carriers Association, and the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition have weighed in with a federal district court on the National Association of Broadcasters and Sinclair challenges to the FCC's incentive auction framework.

In an FCC filing Dec. 23, the associations, which back the FCC in the suit, told the court that broadcasters' criticisms of the FCC's methodology for calculating interference are unpersuasive and irrelevant and that holding an effective incentive auction would be "impossible" using the "antiquated software the broadcasters want."

NAB and Sinclair told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in their initial brief that it needs to reject the FCC's May incentive auction order to the degree that it adopts the TVStudy repacking methodology, "fails to protect against terrain losses, denies protection to areas that are currently unpopulated, and fails to protect populations served by fill-in translators (NAB's issues)."

Sinclair wants the FCC to vacate the orders' deadline of 39 months after the release of channel reassignments for broadcasters to cease broadcasting on their pre-auction channel reassignments.

CEA et al. told the court that Sinclair lacks standing to challenge the repacking deadline, and in any event such challenge is meritless. "The Commission’s repacking deadline exceeds the deadlines several broadcasters (including NAB) proposed, reasonably accounts for the challenges the repacking process entails, and accommodates 'delays or unexpected challenges' by providing for temporary facilities and extensions in appropriate cases," the groups argue.

The Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition also has issues with the TVStudy software, but has advised the FCC of a change it could make that it says can resolve population loss issues.