Petitions for Reconsideration
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Yesterday was the deadline for submissions of Petitions for Reconsideration related to the June Incentive Spectrum Auction Report & Order, and which was published in the Federal Register in mid-August.  A total of 33 Petitions were filed and we present our initial review of them here for you to start your own research on.  Depending on when you read this email more items may be filed.  To see them all at the FCC ECFS site for the 12-268 Proceedings go to this page:  12-268 Proceedings 

Petitions filed by either LPTV-related organizations or LPTV licensees themselves totaled 10.  Three of these represented large groups of licensees and they took different approaches in how and what they filed about.

>  Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance - Representing 100's of LPTV licensees (as well as manufacturers and primary stations) the Alliance focused on 5 separate issues: 1) from the date of the auction, 2) the amount of spectrum to be reclaimed, 3) the secondary status of LPTV and how that relates to unlicensed devices, 4) a call for a study of transition costs, and 5) an ask for LPTV displacement costs to be paid by the winning wireless bidders. Much of what the Alliance submitted is ground already covered in multiple filings into the record, but they did a good job of summing them all up and asking for reconsideration.  This is especially true in their ask for a study of the impact on LPTV from the auction. What is novel about their filing is the ask for the displacement costs to be paid by the winning bidders. Expect to see some fireworks about this in the replies.

>  LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition - Representing over 150 LPTV licensees with more than 1000 built stations and new construction permits, the Coalition took a different approach to their filing than the Alliance did.  It filed a simple 4 point filing which asked for: 1) for the FCC to produce for public review the economic justification it has for not including LPTV in the auction, since they say they have the authority to do so, 2) the sequencing of the repack so that LPTV displacement app's have a higher priority than unlicensed spectrum, 3) clarifications about the "out-of-core" Class-A's which have been non-auction eligible, and whether they still have other rights, and 4) the FCC's "dirty data problem" and how that may have affected why Congress may have made their decisions with this date.  There is really nothing novel or unique in this filing, but it keeps the drumbeat going on about issues which the Coalition hopes to find success in the courts with. 

>  Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition - This anonymous group of about 80 Class-A and primary broadcasters used their Petition to focus on channel-sharing issues, and dove deep into it as a viable option for their members.  Interesting that they are focusing on this, as they have been one of the most vocal proponents of selling off a full 120-MHz of spectrum. But we are glad they have dove into the weeds on this issue, as the Coalition has been almost alone in pushing the wide varieties of how LPTV could benefit from channel sharing with primaries for revenue generating channel leases.

>  Beach TV Properties, Inc. - Deals with their long-standing Class-A application and the unfairness of others being included as auction eligible and not them.

>  Free Access and Broadcast Telemedia, LLC - LPTV investor FAB, asks for, 1) Benefit-Cost Analysis Sought on LPTV Participation in the Reverse Auction, 2) Clarification Requested on Forward Auction Spectrum to be Sold, and, 3) Clarification and Reconsideration Sought on "Remainder Spectrum". With this filing it joins in on the call for an LPTV study, and asks a key question about how much spectrum will really be offered for sale.  Their argument on the "remainder spectrum", which is the difference between the 6-MHz TV blocks and the 5-MHz wireless bid blocks, and how that spectrum is allocated and to which group.

>  Mako Communications, LLC - As one of the largest major market station groups, the comments Mako provides are a roadmap for potential litigation for the entire industry. The major issues are:  1) Violations of the Communications Act as it relates to the Administrative Procedure Act by Engineering the Revocation of Licenses en masse, and 2) Violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  This NEP argument is definitely unique and as far as I can tell, could be a sleeper.  Who said LPTV couldn't go green, or is LPTV "sustainable".  Fun aside, check out their logic here folks.  Due process is what it is all about, and this could be the roadmap.

>  The Videohouse, Inc. - Long time LPTV and Class-A licensee Ron Bruno takes us through his reasoning why the 100 out-of-core Class-A's, and specifically his station, should be considered auction-eligible.  Watch out for this one folks, Ron's use of the Community Broadcasters Protection Act as the basis for his argument could have wide ranging effects on all LPTV.  It is all about arbitrarily subjecting similarly-situation parties to disparate treatment by the FCC, which is a big no-no!

>  Signal Above, LLC - Major market channel-6 operator Signal Above filed about, 1) the FCC's failure to provide a rational basis or any cost-benefit analysis for excluding LPTV in the incentive auction, and 2) it seeks reconsideration of the Commission's mandatory analog-to-digital transition date of September 1, 2015.

>  US Television, LLC -  LPTV flex-use pioneer Dean Mosley filed what could be one of the most important Petitions, in that it asks for a priority in the displacement repack for any of the 12 Digital Data Services Act (DDSA) LPTV licensees.  For those not familiar with the DDSA, Congress back in 1999 gave these 12 LPTV licenses special flexible use authority to test and deploy what at the time was bleeding-edge transmission technologies. The Coalition wants this same authority for all LPTV, and with that, the valuations of our licenses would rise to those the primary stations in the auction.  Important history lesson here for all to read.

>  International Broadcasting Network - Long time faith broadcaster Dr. Paul Broyles makes an argument for there not being any spectrum crunch so there not be the need for an auction at all.  Solid data, and he makes his case, although we fear the ears are not there to hear it right now.  But the courts have a different set of ears in these matters.

Probably the most surprising and interesting of filings is from Artemis Networks.  They have a new highly disruptive interference-based "pCell" technology which can greatly increase the throughput 
of 600-MHz cell systems, so much so, that even LPTV could use it to become broadband carriers.  Check their website out for what the future of our spectrum could be using, real quick!  http://www.artemis.com/pcell

Of special note is the filing for CPB/APTS/PBS.  They are very concerned that if the underlying broadcast license is sold off in the auction, that the PBS affiliate could lose local coverage.  So they are asking the FCC to reconsider their argument that a channel is reserved in each market for them no matter what.  This could take a channel away from LPTV licensees, but the Coalition is working with them to see if we can get channel sharing deals approved. Bi Bird is scared, and we hope we can provide some help to him/her.

There are plenty more filings by the NAB members, wireless mic's, and the WMTS medical folks.  Check them all out, if we see something which relates to LPTV we will further report on them.  To see them all at the FCC ECFS site for the 12-268 Proceedings go to this page:  12-268 Proceedings 
While our numbers have grown we are still looking for LPTV licensees who want to be part of our Coalition.  Join today, we need your voice!