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FCC Settles With Videohouse Et Al. Over Auction Challenge

The FCC has settled the challenge to the spectrum auction by Videohouse, Fifth Street Enterprises and WMTM, over their exclusion from the spectrum auction.

If the court, the U.S.Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, accepts the settlement, that removes a big potential legal impediment to the auction, but not the only one. In fact the court was hearing oral argument in a separate LPTV challenge to the repack portion of the Auction Thursday (May 5) by FAB Telecommunications and Mako Communications.

Related: CCA to FCC—Stick With 39-Month TV Station Repack Timetable

The FCC and Videohouse et al. filed a letter with the court May 4 saying they were in serious discussions on a settlement and filed the request to dismiss the case late Thursday. Oral argument is scheduled for May 9, but if the court accepts the deal, that will no longer be necessary.

No word no whether the settlement includes provisional participation in the auction, which the FCC granted LPTV owner Latina Broadcasters, though that participation was provisional pending the outcome of its underlying challenge, which has yet to be heard by the court, and followed the court's staying of the FCC decision in the case.

Related: LPTVs, FCC Square Off in Court

It is definitly possible that, given that Videohouse et al. includes owners of stations that are auction eligible, with big potential paydays, that those parties did not want to pursue their case against the FCC at the risk of delaying the auction, which is scheduled to begin May 31.

An FCC spokesperson confirmed the filing, but said he could not comment on the terms since the cout has not yet granted the settlement.