With another FCC spectrum auction in the books, many broadcasters may be interested in taking stock of the value of their spectrum usage rights and the likelihood that they may have an opportunity to monetize their spectrum sometime in the future. Let’s start with the most recent news and then try to figure out what it means for broadcasters.
t’s part of an aggressive push towards super-fast 5G wireless services, which require new swaths of airwaves to become available to the carriers building the networks. The FCC said it wants to hold two auctions — first of the 28 GHz band and then of the 24 GHz band — starting later this year.
The commission’s Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau are teaming up to present a one-hour webinar to go over various aspects of the channel sharing bid option. That’s the option that could let folks sell their current spectrum back to the Feds while staying in the broadcast business by bunking up with another licensee on that other licensee’s channel. The webinar is scheduled for 2-3 p.m., Wednesday, July 22.
The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology today released the final version of its TVStudy software, which calculates TV station coverage areas for use in the spectrum auction and repacking. In addition, it also released a 65-page table laying out its coverage area calculations for TV stations across the country using the final version of the TVStudy software.
TV stations included on the FCC’s Eligibility List have got to file Form 2100, Schedule 381 (official name: “Pre-Auction Technical Certification Form”) by July 9, which is right around the corner. But how, exactly, do you do that? And where? Here are the answers.
Engineers and wireless equipment vendors say the FCC’s plans to reduce and limit frequencies for wireless devices following the spectrum repack next year are going to cause a myriad of problems. The commission’s proposals are “not a workable solution,” says engineer Louis Libin.
The Department of Justice is adding to the pressure on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to set aside a larger spectrum reserve in the broadcast incentive auction for bidders other than AT&T and Verizon. Writing to Wheeler, William Baer, the assistant attorney general for the DOJ, implored the chairman to use the broadcast incentive auction policies “to ensure that wireless carriers, other than those that currently hold the majority of low-frequency spectrum, have a meaningful opportunity to acquire the spectrum necessary to foster a competitive wireless market.”
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 FCC plans to drop dynamic reserve pricing, a method of pricing that could have lowered station prices. Although the FCC is killing DRP, it rejected a proposal from would-be station sellers for a more preferred pricing formula that takes into account population covered by the station.
Many TV viewers could lose their PBS programs if one or both of the Toledo region’s PBS stations sell out and go off the air to make way for more frequencies for cellphones and other mobile devices. WBGU, owned by Bowling Green State University, is strongly considering selling its license during the FCC’s buy-back auction next year. WGTE, an educational station based in Toledo for 63 years, may consider the auction, but is less likely to sell, according to executives.