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Pai: FCC Should Do More Repacking Outreach

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai says the FCC needs to better understand the magnitude of the "problem" broadcasters face in repacking their signals into new spectrum quarters after the 2015 incentive auctions.

In an interview for C-SPAN's Communicators series, Pai said that point had been brought home to him after a visit to the Empire State Building, which hosts TV transmission facilities.

"I think there are a number of steps the FCC could take," he said, but first was understanding the challenge. He said on that visit it was pointed out to him that it was not a matter of "just flipping a switch" to repack. 

"There is a lot of work that goes into [it] to," he says. "I think if we appreciate the nature of the problem, we will be in a better position to provide a solution."

Pai said another step would be to do more broadcaster outreach "to let them know what the contours of the repacking will be." He said that doesn't just mean making the repacking software available for comment. "It also means understanding the nature of the technical challenge and what the options are for the FCC so they can give us feedback on the smoothest way to effect the repacking."

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.