In Broadcast - May 2017 - 79

79

www.inbroadcast.com | Vol: 7 - Issue 5 | May 2017

InUSA

The Dreaded Repack
Contributing Editor Michael Grotticelli examines the phased spectrum repack in the
U.S. and the impact on over-the-air services...

N

ow that the U.S. television
broadcasting incentive auction
phase is complete and broadcasters
have been paid to relinquish the
wireless spectrum they have used for
decades, it's time for many stations to
move to newly reassigned channels to
fit into the remaining TV band. Don't
feel bad though, 175 TV stations agreed
to relinquish some of the airwaves they
use for more than US$10 billion - and
most will remain in business. As for
the U.S. Treasury, which was supposed
to be the biggest winner here, US$7.3
billion will go to reduce the country's
US$441 billion budget deficit.

WMAQ-TV.
However, as per the terms of the
incentive auction, broadcasters must
install new equipment (paid for by
the US$1.75 billion set aside from
the auction proceeds) and be on the
air by 2020. The FCC, in an official
public notice, said that 987 stations,
including 30 that are moving from
UHF to lower VHF channels. Some
in the industry say that could cost
the industry more than that FCCdetermined figure, when you factor
in stations currently using distributed
transmission systems and Canadian
stations that also must move.

Bidders
A total of 50 wireless bidders (e.g.,
AT&T, Dish, T-Mobile and Comcast)
won the 70 MHz of spectrum in the
incentive auction and paid over
US$19.6 billion for it. Another 14
MHz will serve as guard bands and
be available for wireless mics and
unlicensed devices.
Of those broadcasters that sold all
or parts of their spectrum, the highest
price paid to a single station went to
WWTO-TV in Chicago, licensed by the
Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana,
Inc., which will receive US$304 million.
New Jersey Public Broadcasting will
get US$332 million for two stations.
Notably, Verizon Wireless, the largest
wireless services company in the U.S. -
with 145.7 million subscribers - did not
participate in the auction.
Among the auction winners, 30
stations will receive money for
agreeing to move to a lower
channel and 133 others will
relinquish their licenses and
share a channel, according to the
FCC. A dozen winning TV stations
have agreed to go off the air
completely (most are in smaller
markets or in markets that are
served by a single owner duopoly.
For example, Comcast gave
up spectrum in three markets
where it owns two stations. In
New York, it will give up the
spectrum of WNBC-TV, and then
share the channel with WNJUTV; in Philadelphia, WWSI-TV
will share with WCAU-TV; and in
Chicago, WSNS-TV will share with

Phases
The FCC also plans to
complete the repack in
10 separate phases over
the next 39 months. The
first group of stations
to move channels is
scheduled for Nov. 30,
2018, so they have a mere
18 months to move. Many feel that's
doubtful.
The TV spectrum incentive auction
officially ended on March 30, raising
US$19.6 billion, with a net of US$19.3
billion after bidding credits, and
US$7.3 billion for the U.S. Treasury
after subtracting the US$10 billion to
be paid out to the 175 broadcasters
who sold spectrum, another US$1.75
billion for the congressionally
mandated TV station relocation
reimbursement fund, and around

The FCC's Media Bureau has developed a "phased" transition schedule
TV stations assigned new channels in the repacking process

US$275,000 for the cost of
creating and holding the
auction.
According to industry
reports, the US$19.8 billion
in gross receipts for 84 MHz
was in line with the US$19.4
billion raised in the 2008 auction of TV
channels 52-69 comprising 108 MHz,
but less than half of the US$44.1 billion
raised in the 2015 sale of Advanced
Wireless Frequencies in the 1.7 and
2.1 GHz bands, and far less than the
most enthusiastic estimates of around
US$80 billion.
Licence Zombies
The FCC has allowed station owners
to sell their spectrum in the auction
but keep the license for a future
channel-sharing
agreement.
These stations, having a license
but no spectrum or sharing
partner, have been referred
to as "zombie stations." These
zombies must find a station they
can share channels with or, if
the FCC allows, sell their license
to someone who has spectrum.
The zombies will soon be joined
by LPTV and translator stations,
which the FCC recently allowed
to enter into spectrum sharing
agreements with full power and
Class A stations, as well as other
LPTV and translator stations.
The good news for the zombies
(and displaced LPTVs) is that if
they find a host (sharer) they may

be able to maintain good or improved
over-the-air coverage on a UHF or
high-VHF channel. The 17 stations that
gave up their UHF or high-VHF station
to move to low-VHF are likely to lose
most of their over-the-air coverage.
They can multicast their programming
on another station, but not channel
share.
Interference
It remains to be seen how smoothly
the repack goes, but many are
predicting the worst. Avoiding
interference between reassigned
stations and co-channel sharing look
to be the most difficult to implement.
Stations with interference issues
must work together to test equipment
or provide a 30-day notice before
operating on their new channels
without
causing
interference.
Coordination may involve stations
agreeing to operate at lower power,
or the acceptance of increased
interference for short periods of
time while the stations involved
are performing tests. The NAB has
petitioned the FCC to give stations
more time to move, but thus far has
not been met with agreement.
Of course, unless a station is going
off the air altogether, this entire
repack process will only impact the
approximately 15% of Americans who
consume TV channels via an over-theair antenna. The other 85% (cable and
satellite TV subscribers) will never
know the difference.


http://www.inbroadcast.com https://www.fcc.gov/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - May 2017

Contents
In Broadcast - May 2017 - Intro
In Broadcast - May 2017 - Cover1
In Broadcast - May 2017 - Cover2
In Broadcast - May 2017 - Contents
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 4
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 5
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 6
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 7
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 8
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 9
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 10
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 11
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 12
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 13
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 14
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 15
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 16
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 17
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 18
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 19
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 20
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 21
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 22
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 23
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 24
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 25
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 26
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 27
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 28
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 29
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 30
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 31
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 32
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 33
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 34
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 35
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 36
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 37
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 38
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 39
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 40
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 41
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 42
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 43
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 44
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 45
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 46
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 47
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 48
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 49
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 50
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 51
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 52
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 53
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 54
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 55
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 56
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 57
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 58
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 59
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 60
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 61
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 62
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 63
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 64
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 65
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 66
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 67
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 68
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 69
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 70
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 71
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 72
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 73
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 74
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 75
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 76
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 77
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 78
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 79
In Broadcast - May 2017 - 80
In Broadcast - May 2017 - Cover3
In Broadcast - May 2017 - Cover4
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/CTA-DAY3
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/CTA-DAY2
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/CTA-DAY1
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/CTA-VISITOR
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201906
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/CTA-PREVIEW
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201905
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201904
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOW2019
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201903
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_cabsat2019
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201902
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201901
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_INREVIEW2018
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201812
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201811
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NewYork2018
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201810
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_inshowguide2018
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201809
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201808
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201806
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201805
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201804
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOW2018
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201803
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201802
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_cabsat2018
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201801
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201712
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201711
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201710
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOWNYexpo2017
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201709
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_inshowguide2017
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201708
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201707
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201705
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOW2017
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201704
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_cabsat2017
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201703
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201702
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201701
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_INREVIEW2016
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201612
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201611
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOWNYexpo
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_20110708_DEMO
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201610
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_inshowguide2016
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201609
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201608
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201607
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201606
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC03
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201605
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOW2016
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201604
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201603
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_cabsat2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201602
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201601
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC02
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201512
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201511
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_CCW15expo
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201510
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC01
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201509
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_IBC2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201508
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201507
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201506
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_BROADCASTASIA2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201505
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201504
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOW2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201503
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_cabsat2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201502
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201501
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201411
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201410
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201409
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcastIBCPRINTEDGUIDE_201409
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201408
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201407
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201406
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201405
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201404
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201403
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201402
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201401
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201312
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201311
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201310
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201309
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201308
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201307
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201306
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201305
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201304
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201303
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201302
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201301
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201211
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201210
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201209
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201208
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201207
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201206
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201205
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201204
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201203
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201202
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_20121201
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_20111011
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_20110708
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_20110506
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com