The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice dealing with the upcoming March 29 commitment deadline for TV broadcasters who filed their applications back in January indicating a possible intent to participate in the incentive auction to surrender their TV channel so that the FCC can use it to repack the TV band to free spectrum to sell to wireless broadband users. In the Public Notice, the Commission made clear that station’s actual commitments to accept the FCC’s initial offers to give up their spectrum (either by abandoning their channel entirely by going out of business or sharing with a channel with another broadcaster, or by moving from a UHF to a VHF channel) will need to be filed between 10AM on March 28 and 6 PM (Eastern Time) on March 29. The January applications said that a broadcaster might be interested in giving up its current channel – filings made before the upcoming March 29 deadline make that commitment binding.
Yesterday’s notice announced that the FCC will be making available its “Initial Commitment Module” of the Incentive Auction software system at 10 AM on March 24 during a “preview period” for review by TV broadcasters. That is the piece of software on which the broadcaster makes its commitment to participate in the auction at the FCC’s initial offering price. Starting on Monday, February 29, the FCC will be making available an online tutorial to allow broadcasters to familiarize themselves with how the software will work. In addition, today the FCC announced that it will hold a workshop for broadcasters on March 11, starting at 10 AM Eastern Time, providing information on how to make these commitments. These actions come while the FCC battles with some LPTV stations claiming that they should have been considered Class A TV stations and included in the auction – a legal battle that seems to be the last potential legal speedbump that could in any way derail the upcoming auction.
Continue Reading FCC Announces Previews for TV Broadcasters of Incentive Auction Initial Commitment Software; Denies Auction Stay Request from LPTV Applicant