An amendment introduced today would boost the government fund for relocation expenses for TV stations following the FCC’s auction and repack to $2.75 billion and extend the deadline to complete those moves indefinitely.
Senators Tackle Possible Repacking Problems
A proposed amendment that would add $1 billion to the $1.75 billion reimbursement fund for broadcasters forced to relocate after the FCC’s incentive auction was unveiled today by a bi-partisan coalition of senators led by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).
The amendment, which is targeted for a wireless spectrum bill slated to be voted on by the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday, also would extend the incentive auction’s existing 39-month buildout transition deadline for broadcasters indefinitely “to ensure that no broadcast television station is forced to stop broadcasting due to reasons outside the control of the broadcast television station,” the text of the amendment says.
Broadcasters have complained that the incentive auction’s $1.75 billion reimbursement fund could be inadequate to cover the expenses of broadcasters forced to move in the auction’s wake. Broadcasters have also contended that the auction requirement that broadcasters complete moving to any new facilities required within 39 months after the auction — at risk of possibly losing their licenses — is overly onerous.
Under the amendment, the reimbursement fund would be raised to $2.75 billion.
The other lawmakers said to be supporting the amendment are Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
A similar amendment has been promoted in the House by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.).
An FCC spokesman declined to comment on the news. The incentive auction is slated to begin March 29.