FAB Telemedia Files New Spectrum Auction Challenge

Free Access & Broadcast Telemedia (FAB), joined by other LPTVs not getting to participate in the FCC's spectrum auction, have gone to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to file a new challenge against the auction.

The petition comes a day before the spectrum auction officially begins March 29.

FAB et al. are challenging the FCC's order establishing the auction, and the rules regarding digital low power TV and translators (the FCC’s Commencement of Operations Order (Docket 12-268) that was published in the Federal Register Jan. 29 and the Third Report & Order (in Dockets 12-268 and 03-185), published in the Federal Register on Feb. 1.

They say the orders are "arbitrary and capricious" and thus violate the Administrative Procedures Act.

They argue that the orders failed to comply with the spectrum auction legislation's directive that the FCC not "alter the spectrum usage rights of low-power television stations," and violated the Regulatory Flexibility Act by "failing to describe feasible, efficacious steps the agency has taken, and each alternative considered, to mitigate the significant adverse impact of its rules on low-power television broadcasters as small entities.

FAB has taken aim at other portions of the FCC auction in the D.C. federal court. Oral argument is scheduled for May on that challenge, but the court denied its request to stay the auction start pending that argument.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.