The FCC assigned deadlines for those submitting invoices for final repack reimbursements. All TV stations that needed to change transmission frequencies have left their old frequencies.
Stations that were assigned repack transition completion dates in the first half of the 39-month post-auction transition period must submit all remaining invoices for incurred expenses by October 8, 2021. The deadline for those assigned completion dates in the second half of the transition period is March 22, 2022. The deadline for all other participants in the reimbursement program, such as FMs or LPTVs and TV translators, is September 5, 2022.
The agency established the deadlines to help ensure that all invoices are processed and that stations are able to complete the fund close-out procedures prior to July 3, 2023; that’s when any unobligated amounts in the fund will be rescinded and deposited into the U.S. Treasury. Stations are encouraged to initiate close out procedures as early as possible and the agency emphasized broadcasters need not wait for their assigned final invoice filing deadline to do so.
All 987 repacked TV stations have now left their pre-auction channels. As of October 6, over 92 percent of the repacked stations are operating on their final facilities. The remaining 76 stations have been granted special temporary authority and revised construction permit deadlines to continue pursuing completion of their tower work. The FCC says it’s optimistic they’ll meet their new deadlines.
Congress provided $2.75 billion for repack reimbursements and viewer education. To date, participants in the reimbursement fund include 872 LPTV/translator stations and 89 FMs, in addition to 957 repacked full power and Class A stations. As of September 29, 2020, the total of all verified estimates in the reimbursement fund was over $2.177 billion and the total allocation was over $2.016 billion. In addition, over $1.323 billion had been forwarded to the U.S. Treasury for payment, and over $78 million in invoices were at various stages of the review process.