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FCC readies its spectrum auction sales pitch

 - Seeks comments on repacking reimbursement form

In a bid to recruit television broadcasters to participate in the “voluntary” incentive spectrum auction planned for 2015, the FCC last week released a long-awaited information package for broadcasters estimating potential compensation values and providing guidance on how auction proceeds would be taxed.

The package promises that because of the “daisy chain” nature of interference, stations in mid-size and smaller markets can expect “substantial value” for their spectrum usage rights. Separately, the commission notes that actual prices broadcasters will receive will only be determined in the auction itself.

Commission staff have consolidated agency documents regarding the auction that include a graphics on how the complex process will play out.  The most sought after are the “Opportunities Book” and “Estimated Potential Auction Compensation” which lists valuations by market.

Just days before releasing the package, the FCC also began seeking comments, due Oct. 27, on a draft “TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund Reimbursement Form” that will be used by broadcasters to claim payment from the government for the costs of repacking after the auction. 

Broadcasters will use the reimbursement form to submit basic information for establishing an account for depositing the auction payment, an estimate of their eligible relocation costs, and actual cost documentation – as incurred during the construction process and in total.

For these reasons, broadcasters should review the draft form to ensure it addresses all types of expected expenses that stations may incur in the repacking process. Draft FormInstructions

Attorney David Oxenford with Wilkinson Barker Knauer outlines the reimbursement steps for stations here.

Questions?  Contact TAB's Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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