NAB Pours Water On FCC’s Proposed Repack Schedule
The NAB has filed responses to the FCC’s proposed scheduling plan for repacking broadcast television stations following the incentive auction, and reclaim additional spectrum by relocating local TV broadcasters into a smaller television band. The comments express concerns that the proposed schedule fails to fully account for logistical and technical challenges facing the repack, and urged the Commission to revisit its 39-month timeframe.
Here are the NAB’s conclusions:
“When the incentive auction comes to a successful close, the Commission will be faced with a daunting task: the relocation of well over a thousand broadcast television stations to new channels. Even assuming best-case scenarios unfold across the country, this will pose unprecedented logistical challenges for broadcasters and their vendors. The Commission’s own experience with previous large-scale transitions, such as the DTV transition and the reconfiguration of the 800 MHz band, should give the Commission and all affected stakeholders pause in assuming that best-case scenarios will actually unfold. When complications inevitably arise, under the Commission’s current rules, viewers who depend on their current television service will bear the burden. The Commission still has time to develop a plan for a successful transition, and the record of this proceeding lays out a roadmap for how the constructive proposals the Commission has set forth can be amended. The Commission must incorporate flexibility into its plan by retaining the flexibility to adjust phase assignments as stations provide more information concerning their individual projects. The Commission should also retain the flexibility to adjust phase deadlines to account for predictable and unpredictable delays. Most critically, the Commission should commit to the principle that it will not deprive viewers of service solely to comply with an artificial and counterproductive deadline.”