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FCC: TV Repack is on Track

Currently in Phase 7 of its broadcast incentive auction repack, the FCC said that as of Dec. 6, 697 of 987 stations being repacked (71%) have moved off their pre-auction channels, with 79% of those having fully transitioned to permanent facilities.

That is according to a blog from Jean Kiddo, chair of the Incentive Auction Task Force and Hillary DeNigro, deputy chair of the task force. The 39-month repack is scheduled to wrap up July 3, 2020. Phase 7 is scheduled to end Jan. 17, 2020.

The officials gave broadcasters credit for working hard to meet their deadlines.

Related: FCC Boosts Repack Payback Cost Guides

"We recognize that the three-year period posed significant challenges to the affected stations and their various vendors and are pleased to report that the stations have done a great job managing their channel re-assignment projects to meet the required schedule, and that all of the stations required to vacate their pre-auction channels to date have successfully done so," they wrote.

The verified estimates of repack expenses from full power class A TVs and MVPDs was $1,951,302,007, of which $886,033,437 has been reimbursed so far.

They said that 947 reimbursement submissions have come in from LPTVs and translators, that they were anticipating more requests for funds. "We expect that the level of reimbursement requests will increase substantially over the next few months as stations completing their transition submit final invoices and the program begins to reimburse LPTV, TV translator and FM stations," they said.

Finally, they said that their consumer education web site has received 2.1 million hits.

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.