The public TV groups say the commission’s denial of their request for changes in the incentive auction process “create the very real possibility of a number of communities across America losing public television service following next year’s broadcast spectrum incentive auction.”
The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) said today they are disappointed in the FCC’s denial of their Petition for Reconsideration of FCC rules regarding the commission’s upcoming spectrum auction and repack adopted last spring. The groups said the commission’s actions “create the very real possibility of a number of communities across America losing public television service following next year’s broadcast spectrum incentive auction.”
In the joint filing, the FCC was asked to reconsider and revise its incentive auction rules so that if the license holder of the only or last remaining noncommercial educational station operating on a reserved channel in a market relinquishes its spectrum, then at least one reserved channel would be preserved following the auction to enable a new entrant to offer noncommercial educational television service in the community. “
For more than 60 years, the groups said, the FCC “has consistently reserved space in the television band for noncommercial educational use in every community across the country. Throughout that time, the commission has repeatedly denied requests to delete reserved channels, citing as a principal reason for doing so the need to preserve the future availability of these educational channels for the critical public service they provide. But the commission’s decision reverses this well-settled policy, threatening the ability of viewers to receive the invaluable services provided by local public television stations.
“APTS, CPB, PBS and local public television stations across the country have been working diligently with the FCC to ensure a successful spectrum auction process. We have helped run a successful channel sharing pilot, written and disseminated a model channel sharing agreement to stations, and held numerous webinars, conference calls and meetings to assist stations regarding the spectrum auction and their various participation options.
“Through this decision, the commission has disregarded the needs of the millions of Americans who rely on public television for essential services in education, public safety and civic leadership,” the groups added.