The association tells the FCC that “Microsoft is asking the commission to grant it spectrum for free, with no buildout requirements or service requirements of any kind — substantially better terms than winning auction bidders received.”
By now, most broadcasters should be quite familiar with the FCC’s 10 phases for repacking television spectrum. Karl Voss, chief engineer of KAET Phoenix, says they better get up to speed fast on what he calls “Phase Zero” — any channel in 600 MHz or above that is not protected.
The move is lauded by the NAB, which said: “Today’s order is a positive step towards mitigating the incentive auction’s impact on the tens of thousands of viewers who rely on these important sources of news, entertainment and emergency weather warnings.”
While the FCC will open a limited window for displaced LPTV and translator stations to apply to operate on new channels, some stations may be forced off the air before the application window opens, which could potentially deprive tens of thousands of viewers of access to local TV signals as a result, NAB says.
The FCC’s Media Bureau issued a Public Notice Friday announcing that it would immediately suspend the Sept. 1 digital transition date for LPTV and TV translator stations. The FCC’s decision, however, does not affect Class A TV stations, which are still required to complete the digital transition by Sept. 1.
Advocates of low-power TV stations and translators have been worried that their interests will be ignored in the upcoming FCC incentive auction and spectrum repack. Now, however, the Government Accountability Office is being asked to study the situation and the hope is the results will help them win rights to continue operating in the auction’s wake — similar to the rights full-power broadcasters are already guaranteed.