The FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau say the repack is on-time so far and both agency and industry personnel are working hard to maintain that progress. A total of 987 full power and Class A television stations were reassigned to new channels as part of the repack. This included 30 band-changing winners from the reverse auction and 957 non-winning stations.
The Commission received 53 applications from forward auction winners for 2,775 licenses in the 600 MHz Band.
All of those applications have been granted. Reports indicate that wireless operations have begun in a number of markets, bringing new competition and opportunities for 5G expansion. For example, T-Mobile reports it has lit up service using 600 MHz spectrum in 1,500 cities and 37 states, including Puerto Rico, according to the Commission.
Concerning reimbursement to change channels, all of the 175 reverse auction broadcast television winning bidders have been paid, representing about $10 billion overall. Only 41 stations permanently went off the air as a result of their winning bid and the remaining 104 other “off air” winning television stations implemented a channel sharing arrangement, according to the agency.
All stations assigned to Phase 1 as of the November 30, 2018, completion date successfully met that deadline. A “significant number” moved early. The Commission changed its repack plan to accommodate stations affected by hurricanes, to help better use tower crews, and to speed the start of wireless operations in the 600 MHz band.
As of February 11, 172 successfully vacated their pre-auction channel, representing 17 percent of the 987 stations to be repacked. The agency uses a number of tactics to keep the repack on-time. It monitors progress in order to promptly detect and resolve scheduling issues. Phase 2 stations must vacate their old channel by April 12.
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February 12, 2019