FCC OKs Request From PR And VI TV Stations

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: “The commission has made it a top priority to assist with the recovery from last year’s devastating hurricanes. Today, we’re taking another important step to expedite the restoration of vital communications services.

The FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau today granted a request from 20 TV stations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria to permit them to construct post-auction facilities ahead of schedule.

In November, a coalition of TV stations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands asked the FCC to accelerate transition of full-power and Class A stations to post-auction channel assignments. “In light of the devastation to the islands brought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, there is good cause,” the stations said. They want to “avoid wasteful duplicative construction and enable stations to utilize approved TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund reimbursements to subsidize restoration of broadcast television service to the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Chairman Ajit Pai issued the following statement: “The commission has made it a top priority to assist with the recovery from last year’s devastating hurricanes. Today, we’re taking another important step to expedite the restoration of vital communications services.

“Before today, many broadcast television stations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were facing a choice between two bad options: either remain dark for months or years to come, or restore service on their pre-auction channel, only to have to rebuild their broadcast facility again in a year or two. Now, stations are no longer confronting that choice because they’ll be able to use their post-auction channel more quickly. Moreover, affected stations will now be able to access the TV Broadcaster Reimbursement Fund to cover portions of their recovery costs attributable to the post-incentive auction channel reassignment. 

“The bottom line is that residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be able to access emergency communications and other valuable broadcast content sooner as a result of this decision. I’m grateful to the Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau for working with these stations on a creative solution,” Pai concluded.


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