FCC green-lights rules for TV spectrum auctions

By Ben Mook

The FCC formally adopted rules today for the television spectrum auctions slated for mid-2015. Most of the provisions align with what the FCC has said leading up to today’s announcement.

The commission formally declined to provide protections to low-power TV stations and TV translators. Neither facility category is eligible for protection under its current rules, the commission’s order said,  and shielding them would “unduly constrain flexibility in the repacking process and undermine the likelihood of meeting the objectives for the incentive auction.” The commission will open a special filing window for LPTV and translators that provide “important services” to select new channels, and establish an special process for relocating displaced stations.

The report and order also lays out a timetable for participating broadcasters to vacate their channels. After the commission completes the process of repacking the TV spectrum, stations must clear their “repurposed spectrum” within 39 months.

Despite earlier concerns about the software developed by the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology, the commission will use its OET-69 methodology to analyze coverage areas and interference data during the repackaging process.

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