67 PAGE DOCUMENT DETAILS THE NEXT DECADE OF REPACKING, DISPLACEMENTS, AND HOW TO MAINTAIN THE VALUABLE LPTV & TRANSLATOR SERVICE
The future of your LPTV and/or TV translator licenses and permits are detailed out in this new rulemaking by the FCC. Bottom line, I consider this a "huge win" for our industry, despite the unfair treatment we have been forced to accept related to the auction, relocation funding, and flexible use. Here are the wins as I see them:
1) The ROD wins the day. Our basic "right of displacement" has turned out to be the biggest factor in this process. The unlicensed spectrum advocates, starting with Commissioner Rosenworcel, thought they were going to be able to use the FCC's "general authority" to wipe out LPTV and translators in each market. The fact that we as an industry, from the rural translators, to the large full power translators, the more 200 civic bodies which manage 2500 licenses and permits, to the 1200+ major market stations, the Class A owners with LPTV interests, to the channel 6 radio operators, they all made substantial contributions to support this research and advocacy. No one in the unlicensed community thought we could win this battle, but we have. What they thought was our weakness, that we could be displaced by everyone, has become our bastion of defense. Exactly a year ago our Coalition pivoted when it recognized this fact, and that is why we have been working on how and when we get displaced, find new channels, and live to air another decade. Of course, in this universe of ours, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so we are now faced with the Vacant Channel order, since the ROD limited the free spectrum grab by MicroGoo. In this fight, we will have ALL broadcasters united, including NAB, and will be fully funded to fight it. Deal with it MicroGoo, you lost, and will not get what you really want this time around. But do stay in touch, for the right price we can get you the spectrum you covet.
2) Harmonized Construction Permit Deadline.
All construction permits, from those new one's obtained in the displacement window, to those not displaced, the 2009 rural filing window original digital permits, literally all construction permits will have the same end date. This turns into about 51 months post auction, or 60 months from today. Remember, if you are not a built and licensed facility, you can not be part of the post auction displacement window, which is 6 months after the auction. We will go into next week all of the various scenario's and build-out options. We avoided the "double build", and won an extra year to build out past the repack. But there are some blind alleys and traps here folks, so next week read what they are.
3) A Path To Primary Status Is Now Available.
The FCC opens the door in this R&O for a post auction path via a new Class A window. But this can only happen after the displacement windows have been opened, and the dust has settled some. We are working in this for the next session of Congress.
4) The 4th NPRM Means More Rulemaking To Come Next Year. The FCC is already planning on a catch-all NPRM in early 2017 to consider many of the ideas and solutions which we all have and will learn from the repacking and displacement process. Stay tuned on this one folks, we may be able to hit a home run in this next process.
5) Channel Sharing Is Cool. Now there are many of you who put down channel sharing, but you need to learn to love this opportunity. If you are one of the few displaced licensees which just can not find the audience you need, the channel sharing option is your last way to stay on the air. And now that the FCC is considering primary-to-LPTV sharing, well, that opens the door to a lot of potential positive opportunities. Again, if it is not a tool you want, remember that someone else could really use it.
Gotta go, so read this document today and over the weekend, and next week we will go into the details, where that pesky devil is hanging out.
If you have any questions you want our opinion on, please do email us with them.
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