FCC Gets Repack Cost Estimates

The FCC at press time had so far posted 903 form 399s and counting, which are broadcasters' applications for construction permits (CPs) to move to new channels in the post-incentive auction repack as well as their initial estimates of how much the move will cost them.

The FCC has a $1.75 billion fund to reimburse broadcasters and MVPDs for moving costs.

There should eventually be 957 such TV station filings (the total number moving), but 25 stations got waivers of the July 12 deadline (though some of those may have filed the forms anyway), and there are some stragglers still coming in.

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For example, WJAR Providence, R.I., estimated its move would cost $3,240,735.

There were also 119 MVPD forms estimating how much it will cost them to retune their headends to receive the moved channels. But it is not clear how many there will ultimately be since not all MVPDs may incur costs and they may not yet know just what stations in their markets are doing—some channel sharers might wind up not sharing after all.

For example, Massillon (Ohio) Cable TV estimated that its cost for retuning three TVs would be $16,000.

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While TV stations had that deadline to file CPs, MVPDs only had the cost estimates, which they could file for later—the FCC has signaled there will likely be multiple windows to file for expenses, plus a true-up down the line for those who had already filed.

While broadcasters who got money in the incentive auction have to cover their own moving expenses if they are staying on the air, MVPDs will be reimbursed out of the fund for their expenses related to those stations.

Look for the FCC to announce its initial tally of the filings anytime now.

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.