THE FCC PROTECTS LPTV AND TV TRANSLATORS AGAINST THE WIRELESS WINNING BIDDERS
DURING THE 39-MONTH REPACK
Today the FCC approved the Incentive Auction Commencing Operations Report and Order, and LPTV got a rare win in these complex negotiations. The FCC had originally proposed that the winning wireless bidders would have to give a full 120-day notice to secondary licensees and unlicensed when new wireless services would be starting. CTIA, and industry members balked, and wanted to kick LPTV off of their channels as soon as the "testing" started, and everywhere in the PEA, which could be very different than the DMA.
The FCC, in today's Report and Order, stood their ground and kept the 120-notice, but they did allow for qualified limited testing. But LPTV and TV translators will have the full 39-month repack period no matter what.
"Under the transition rules addressed in this Report and Order, LPTV stations in the 600 MHz Band may continue to operate, except in the guard bands, unless they are in an area in which a 600 MHz Band wireless licensee provides advance written notice that it intends to commence operations and that the LPTV station is likely to cause harmful interference to the 600 MHz Band wireless licensee's operations in that area.
LPTV stations in the 600 MHz guard bands (including the duplex gap) must cease operations no later than the end of the 39-month Post-Auction Transition Period.
White space devices may continue to operate in the 600 MHz Band, except in those areas in which a 600 MHz Band wireless licensee commences operations and provides the requisite notice to a white space database administrator.
BAS licensees must vacate the 600 MHz Band by the end of the Post-Auction Transition Period, or earlier if notified by a 600 MHz Band wireless licensee that it intends to commence operations and that the BAS licensee is likely to cause harmful interference. The Commission did not define the term "commence operations," but stated that it would do so as part of the pre-auction process."
Now this only matters if you are currently transmitting on a channel which is won in the auction, and you are displaced. You will get to apply for a new channel in the displacement window six months after the auction. You then will have the normal new three year construction permit, or so we think. The final LPTV and TV translator rules will come out in the Report and Order before the end of the year.
The research needed to craft solutions for the LPTV and TV translator industry just doesn't happen by itself. Members of our Coalition have stepped up and provided the basic funding, but we also need your financial support to keep the process moving forward. Rather than go to the Courts, we are trying to get favorable legislation passed, and the research we do is essential. If you have a license or construction permit, then it is in your vital interest to support this research and advocacy process.