The FCC's repack of most of a thousand TV stations into smaller spectrum quarters is almost two-thirds of the way to completion, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told a Senate oversight hearing audience Thursday (Oct. 17), and has proven to be a smooth transition.
The Senate Financial Services Subcommittee wanted to talk about spectrum issues and Pai was there to oblige.
Asked by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) for a brief update about the status of the post-incentive auction repack, the chairman said that the fifth phase in the 10-phase transition had been completed in September--after a slight extension for stations affected by Hurricane Dorian.
As of that date, he said, 533 of the 987 broadcasters (54%) required to move to a new channel had done so.
Phase six of the transition is scheduled to end Friday (Oct. 18) and Pai said he expected 100 additional stations will have moved, meaning over two-thirds will have made the repack transition successfully.
Congress allocated over $2 billion to pay for those moves by broadcasters, as well as for the re-tuning of headends by cable operators to receive the new channels.
"We want to make sure it is a smooth transition for everybody," he said, "and thus far it is."
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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.