Pai: Repack Is Going Well

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We’re now at the half-way point of the television broadcast repack, according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. He told lawmakers during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing Thursday the process of moving broadcasters who chose to give up their spectrum in the incentive auction in exchange for a portion of the proceeds and move to a different channel is going well.

“As of September 5, the Phase five deadline, 553 of the 987 television stations required to move have,” said the Chairman.

“Phase six ends tomorrow [Friday]. I anticipate another 100 more will have successfully moved. We’re on-track.”

The repack was discussed during a spectrum auction hearing. The FCC ended its first incentive auction in 2017; that auction ended up making available 70 MHz of spectrum for mobile broadband use in the 600 MHz band. It also generated about $19.3 billion in revenue.  

“About $10.05 billion of that money went to pay broadcasters that relinquished their spectrum. More than $7 billion was directed to the U.S. Treasury for deficit reduction, and more than $2 billion is being spent to compensate broadcasters for their relocation costs as a result of the post-incentive auction spectrum repack,” said Pai.

“The process for compensating stations for their relocation costs has been running smoothly,” said Pai. Asked whether the FCC needed Congress to allocate more money for the relocation effort, Pai said “no.”

October 18, 2019

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