CCA, NAB bicker over incentive auction's relocation fund, spectrum repacking timeline

The Competitive Carriers Association fired back at the National Association of Broadcasters in advance of the FCC's upcoming broadcast incentive auction, saying that a 39-month timeline to repack the spectrum of broadcast TV stations and a $1.75 billion relocation fund are sufficient for TV providers.

In an FCC filing this week, the NAB repeated its request that a schedule for spectrum repacking -- essentially reshuffling the airwaves for use that won't interfere with other services -- be established after the auction rather than beforehand. The filing was in response to earlier filings by the CCA opposing any modifications to the repacking deadline or the $1.75 billion relocation fund established to reimburse broadcasters.

"Once the Commission has determined how many stations must move, and to which channels, it will be possible to establish aggressive, but attainable, deadlines for stations to complete their relocation," the NAB argued. The association also blasted the CCA's opposition to any increase in the relocation fund, saying the CCA's interest in the issue "is baffling."

"CCA continues to believe that the budget set by Congress and the FCC's planned timeline based on the Spectrum Act, which was approved by the DC Circuit, for broadcaster relocation are reasonable and should be re-affirmed," replied Steven Berry, president and CEO of the CCA, in a prepared statement. "Setting a definitive transition period and enforcing the congressionally mandated budget will encourage forward-auction participation, reallocate more spectrum for mobile broadband use that consumers crave, and help create next-generation technology investment."

AT&T last month said it had run simulations that indicate roughly 1,200 TV stations will need to be repacked in the lower 600 MHz band after the auction. The carrier said its data "suggests that the FCC will be able to optimize any repacking solution so up to 30 percent of remaining broadcasters will be able to maintain their current channel assignment. About 850 stations will be given a new channel assignment, and will need to either retune or move to the new assignment."

For more:
- see this NAB filing

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