Thursday - 10/30/14

We thought it would be useful for you all to see the Coalition Ex Parte filing today which is a summary of our meeting last week with the Incentive Auction Task Force.  It raises serious "process" issues which affect all auction participants, and especially LPTV.  Here is the link to the filing within the 12-269 Proceedings Coalition Filing.

We provide it in full here also...

"October 30, 2014 - Via ECFS


Ms. Marlene H. Dortch


Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street, SW

Washington, DC 20554


Re:  Ex Parte Meeting Regarding GN Docket No. 12-268: Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions


Dear Ms. Dortch:


The LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition, (the "Coalition"), met on October 22, 2014 with the following members the Incentive Auction Task Force (IATF) including: Chair Gary Epstein, Media Bureau Chief William Lake, Video Division Chief Barbara Kreisman, and staff members Mary Margaret Jackson, Michelle Carey, Julissa Marenco, Joyce Bernstein, and AJ Glusman. We discussed the following items:


1.   An update of the activities of our Coalition in providing a forum for the 1850 LPTV and TV translator licensees to discuss their concerns with the Incentive Auction process.  The Coalition shared that the LPTV licensees were very confused and needed clarity on many issues, and access to better data, in order to make timely and informed comments into the process


2.   A request for data related to Class-A licensees which are considered "not eligible for the auction', as described in the Incentive Auction Report and Order.  The Coalition asked yet again for the list which the Video Division used to make its' claim in the Report and Order that more than 100 Class-A's are not eligible for the auction.  When directly asked about this Video Division Chief Kreisman said she did not have the list, did not have the resources to have a list created, and to have all of those Class-A's call her.  The Coalition responded that if she had the resources to field over 100 phone calls she had the resources to produce a list.


3.   The Coalition described a Freedom of Information Request it had made for the mailing list of Class-A licensees sent the Greenhill Book.  In that list there are numerous LPTV licensees that did not have Class-A licenses, and from a check of the records, there were long standing Class-A licenses that were not sent the Book.  When asked about this Chief Kreisman said she was not responsible for that mailing list.  We ask, if not the Video Division, then which part of the FCC put together the mailing list?


4.   The Coalition asked if the highly anticipated LPTV LEARN event was a request into the Commissioners for approval.  Media Bureau Chief Lake said that it was not going to the Commissioners and would be handled directly by the IATF and Media Bureau.  When asked if it would happen before or after the 2014 holiday season, the response was they did not yet know.


5.   For the third time the Coalition made a request for the IATF "work product" which backs up the claim, first put forth in the 2012 Incentive Auction NPRM, and again in the 2014 Incentive Auction Report and Order which states that the FCC has the authority to include LPTV in the Auction but chooses not to because it would not be of any value to the auction.  The Coalition asked all in attendance in the meeting if they had seen an economic analysis, economic model, or spread sheet, which compared LPTV in the auction or LPTV not in the auction.  Both Chair Epstein and Chief Lake were asked directly if there were any of these.  Staff members in attendance said they had not seen any of these, and Chair Epstein and Chief Lake said none had been done.


6.   The Coalition updated the IATF that the Congressional asked for GAO study on LPTV impacts from the Incentive Auction had been accepted by the GAO and was scheduled to start in January.  We discussed that the 2011 LPTV DTV impact study by GAO took 11 months to complete and that we all hoped this new study would not take so long, and be done before the auction itself.


7.   The Coalition then discussed the proposed Digital Replacement Translators, and asked what the justification of the expansion of this service was. It also asked about how new DRT applications would happen at the same time as the LPTV displacement applications and would the DRT's have priority over LPTV.  Video Division staff explained that the DRT's would be limited in scope, but could be filed for any time, even years later. They further said that the DRTs could displace LPTV stations, but the DRT applications would have to prove there was a need for them, and that they could not in the future be converted into LPTV stations.  The Coalition asked why the primary stations could not just use an on-channel, or a single frequency solution.  Chief Lake said all of the video rules would have to be changed when the new standard came out.


Respectfully submitted,


Mike Gravino, Director

LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition


The above raises serious questions about the process the FCC has used to make their $45 billion bet on how the auction will be run, and how the LPTV industry will be treated.  By not studying whether or not LPTV could assist the auction process, or help generate more revenues for it, the FCC made huge assumptions, even though they state they have the authority include LPTV in the auction. They never studied it at all!  This could be a multi-tens of billions dollar mistake. And it could help ruin the plans for the unlicensed economy everyone is counting on, since LPTV now gets to come back in and claim the channels that will remain.  

Then by not even knowing which Class-A's are not eligible or generating a list of those they will not qualify, they arrogantly attempt to say they do not have the resources to do what they are suppose to do and already have a budget to do.  Not one single penny has been spent on original LPTV research since the DTV transition, even though we pay our fees.  And they will not even resource what is needed for the auction research.

Next they release the Greenhill Book of the market rates for the auction, but do not release the underlying data.  Why is a Class-A in the San Diego market worth $230 million, and others over $100 million, while the rest of LPTV gets nothing and has to pay for their own moves?  We need the underlying data which Greenhill came up with.  

We need to know why the decision was made to disqualify over 100 Class-A's, although no one at the FCC knows who they are!  We need to know why during the past 30+ months no one at the FCC even did a back-of-the-napkin analysis of what would happen if LPTV were included in the auction.  Don't forget, it does not matter how Congress said to do the auction, the FCC has total discretion to structure the auction the way it thinks will work best to accomplish the overall goals of Congress...but it simply can not make those decisions without studying them first.

The November 12th deadline for Comments on the Petitions for Reconsideration should be delayed for at least a month, and the same with the LPTV NPRM. Without the Greenhill Book analysis documentation and knowing which Class-A's are eligible or not, and without a full economic analysis of the effects LPTV would create by being auction eligible, we simply do not have the proper data to proceed with any part of the auction rule making process.

And to make matters even worse, the FCC CDBS system is not accurate and no analysis can be made with any certainty of what is real within it.  The CDBS must be fixed before proceeding with any further rule making which relies on it for analysis.

One last rant...We are now calling this "THE LPTV AUCTION" since we are providing more than 16,000 MHz between 51-38 for it, and we are doing it without compensation for the spectrum or our moves.  Would NAB members, CTIA members, NCTA members, or others put up with this?  No, and neither will we!

Mike Gravino, Director
LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition