The FCC has released the text of its Report and Order adopted last week, authorizing full power and Class A TV stations to share spectrum as part of the band clearing process for future wireless broadband spectrum auctions. This action was authorized by Congress in the Spectrum Act, which became law in February as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. We summarized the Spectrum Act in a previous blog available here.
The Report and Order allows full power and Class A TV stations to enter into agreements whereby two stations will share one six MHz channel, thereby allowing one station to return its existing channel to the FCC for cancellation and availability in the upcoming spectrum auctions. Presumably, one six MHz channel is sufficient bandwidth to support two HD channels. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for this proceeding, the FCC said it would let the sharing stations decide how much bandwidth each station would get.
The station giving up its channel would be entitled to compensation in the so-called "reverse auction" to be held by the FCC, subject to receipt of compensation deemed acceptable by the licensee. Presumably, that compensation would be shared with the station giving up part of its 6 MHz band to allow the two stations to share that bandwidth. The amount of compensation each station would get would likely be determined in their sharing agreement.Continue Reading FCC Authorizes TV Channel Sharing in Preparation for Spectrum Auctions