—The broadcast lobby has asked a federal court to enjoin the
Federal Communications Commission’s post-incentive auction TV station repacking
methodology. The commission modified the data used for 2009 repack in a way
that many say changes signal reach. The National Association of Broadcasters
claims this change violates the Spectrum Act, which directs the FCC to preserve
coverage as it was measured Feb. 22, 2012.
“Under this new methodology, many broadcast television licensees, including
NAB’s members, will lose coverage area and population served during the
auction’s repacking and reassignment process, or be forced to participate in
the auction and relinquish broadcast spectrum rights,” the NAB said in a
petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The Spectrum Act directs the FCC to “make all reasonable efforts to preserve,
as of Feb. 22, 2012, the coverage area and population served of each television
licensee, as determined using the methodology described in OET-69,” which describes
the calculations for evaluating coverage
and interference among digital TV stations. The original
was published Feb. 6, 2004 in anticipation of the analog-to-digital transition
completed in June of 2009.
The commission released its first update of OET-69 in February,
, in a software format called “TVStudy,” which used different
population data than what was in effect in February of 2012. Several updates
have been released since TVStudy was introduced, but none have reverted to the
older population data. In evaluating the software, the NAB
more than 1,900 of the 2,232 full-power and Class A TV stations
would lose coverage.
The NAB said it sought relief from the court on the grounds that the spectrum
auction Report & Order passed by the FCC in mid-May
and published Aug. 15 in the Federal
“violates the Spectrum Act; is arbitrary, capricious and an abuse
of discretion and adopted in violation of administrative law.
“Accordingly, NAB respectfully requests that this court hold unlawful, vacate,
enjoin, and set aside the commission’s adoption of TVStudy
in the Order
and grant such additional relief as may be necessary and appropriate,” the NAB’s