The FCC voted unanimously to give a Florida television station more time to make its channel move. Overall though, the agency says the July 3 deadline to complete the repack still holds.
Cox Television Jacksonville LLC, the licensee of station WFOX-TV, Jacksonville, Florida, now has a short extension to September 8, to transition to a new channel. The Commission determined circumstances beyond the station’s control require additional time for the station to resolve interference concerns with land mobile operations on its new channel. Without the extension, WFOX-TV would have gone dark, the Commission noted, depriving its viewers of the station’s programming during a national emergency.
The FCC said this extension will not delay the channel move of any other station. Because WFOX-TV’s current channel is below 37, it also will not slow the delivery of new 600 MHz wireless broadband.
“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of broadcasters, tower crews, and the wireless industry over the past three years, over 90 percent of 987 affected television stations have already vacated their pre-auction channels, and wireless services, including 5G, are currently being delivered throughout the United States over the 600 MHz band,” said Jean Kiddoo, Chair of the Incentive Auction Task Force. “Indeed, even during a global pandemic that caused some temporary work stoppages over the last few months, many TV stations have been able to successfully meet their transition deadlines, and we anticipate that the vast majority of remaining television stations will meet their July 3 deadline.”
A total of 987 full-power and Class A television stations were assigned to new channels after the broadcast incentive auction as part of the effort to clear low-band 600 MHz spectrum for wireless use. The Commission created a 10-phase transition plan that solved interference problems and accounted for limited resources to assure that the spectrum could be available by July 13, 2020.
Of the 987 TV stations that were assigned to new channels, only 92 stations have yet to move, according to the agency. The FCC doesn’t anticipate the need for more than a few other short extensions where, like WFOX, unforeseeable circumstances may also arise through no fault of a television station.