Channel Sharing Rules


Published: 2017-04-18

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Federal Register, Volume 82 Issue 73 (Tuesday, April 18, 2017)


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 73 (Tuesday, April 18, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 18240-18252]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-07171]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 73 and 74

[MB Docket Nos. 03-185, 15-137; GN Docket No. 12-268; FCC 17-29]


Channel Sharing Rules

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this Report and Order, the Federal Communications
Commission (Commission) adopted rules to allow full power and Class A
stations with auction-related channel sharing agreements (CSAs) to
become sharees outside of the incentive auction context so that they
can continue to operate if their auction-related CSAs expire or
otherwise terminate. The Commission also adopted rules to allow all low
power television and TV translator stations (secondary stations) to
share a channel with another secondary station or with a full power or
Class A station. This action will assist secondary stations that are
displaced by the incentive auction and the repacking process to
continue to operate in the post-auction television bands. The rules
adopted in this R&O will enhance the benefits of channel sharing for
broadcasters without imposing significant burdens on multichannel video
programming distributors (MVPDs).

DATES: These rules are effective May 18, 2017 except for Sec. Sec.
73.3800, 73.6028, and 74.799(h), which contain new or modified
information collection requirements that require approval by the OMB
under the Paperwork Reduction Act and will become effective after the
Commission publishes a document in the Federal Register announcing such
approval and the relevant effective date.

[[Page 18241]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shaun Maher, Shaun.Maher@fcc.gov of
the Media Bureau, Video Division, (202) 418-2324. For additional
information concerning the PRA information collection requirements
contained in this document, contact Cathy Williams, Federal
Communications Commission, at (202) 418-2918, or via email
Cathy.Williams@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Report
and Order (R&O), MB Docket Nos. 03-185, 15-137; GN Docket No. 12-268;
FCC 17-29, adopted on March 23, 2017 and released March 24, 2017. The
full text is available for inspection and copying during regular
business hours in the FCC Reference Center, 445 12th Street SW., Room
CY-A257, Portals II, Washington, DC 20554. This document is available
in alternative formats (computer diskette, large print, audio record,
and Braille). Persons with disabilities who need documents in these
formats may contact the FCC by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: 202-418-
0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis: This document contains
new or modified information collection requirements. The Commission, as
part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, will invite
the general public and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to
comment on the information collection requirements contained in this
document in a separate Federal Register Notice, as required by the
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, see 44 U.S.C. 3507.
In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of
2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we previously
sought specific comment on how we might further reduce the information
collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25
employees.
Congressional Review Act: The Commission will send a copy of this
R&O to Congress and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) pursuant
to the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

Synopsis

1. In this R&O, the Commission adopted rules to allow full power
and Class A stations with auction-related channel sharing agreements
(CSAs) to become sharees outside of the incentive auction context so
that they can continue to operate if their auction-related CSAs expire
or otherwise terminate. The Commission also adopted rules to allow all
low power television and TV translator stations (secondary stations) to
share a channel with another secondary station or with a full power or
Class A station. This action will assist secondary stations that are
displaced by the incentive auction and the repacking process to
continue to operate in the post-auction television bands. The rules
adopted in this R&O will enhance the benefits of channel sharing for
broadcasters without imposing significant burdens on multichannel video
programming distributors (MVPDs).

Extending Channel Sharing Outside the Incentive Auction

2. In the R&O, the Commission expand its channel sharing rules to
allow full power stations with auction-related CSAs to become sharees
outside of the auction context. The Commission also permitted all
secondary stations to be sharee stations outside the auction context.
The Commission concluded that specific provisions of Title III of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act) provide ample authority to
adopt rules to expand channel sharing outside the auction context.
Section 303(g) authorizes the Commission to ``generally encourage the
larger and more effective use of radio in the public interest.''
Consistent with that provision, channel sharing promotes efficient use
of spectrum by allowing two or more television stations to share a
single 6 MHz channel. Section 307(b) directs the Commission to make
``distribution of licenses, frequencies, hours of operation, and of
power among the several States and communities as to provide a fair,
efficient, and equitable distribution of radio service to each of the
same.'' Pursuant to its mandate under section 307(b), the Commission
disfavors loss of broadcast service. Consistent with this provision,
adopting channel sharing rules will help prevent loss of service by
ensuring that stations that enter into CSAs in connection with the
auction may continue broadcasting if and when their auction-related
CSAs terminate or otherwise expire. In addition, authorizing additional
types of channel sharing for secondary stations, including with primary
stations, will increase the opportunities for displaced secondary
stations to continue broadcasting after the incentive auction and the
repacking. Section 316 gives the Commission the authority to modify
licenses, including by rulemaking, if it finds that will serve the
public interest. Consistent with this provision, we find that adopting
channel sharing rules will serve the public interest by promoting the
efficient use of spectrum and facilitating the continued availability
of broadcast television stations.
3. Full Power Stations. The Commission permitted full power
stations with auction-related CSAs to become sharees outside of the
auction context. This action will ensure that full power stations with
auction-related CSAs are able to enter into new CSAs outside the
auction context once their auction-related CSAs expire or otherwise
terminate and, therefore, are able to continue to channel share and
provide service to the public. Permitting channel sharing outside the
auction for full power stations with auction-related CSAs is a logical
extension of the Commission's prior decision to adopt more flexible
auction-related channel sharing rules and to permit term-limited CSAs.
4. The Commission will not allow full power stations without
auction-related CSAs to become sharees following the auction. There is
little evidence of demand at this time for other full power stations to
become sharees. The Commission believes it is unlikely that a full
power station that chose not to bid to channel share in the auction,
when it was eligible to be compensated for the spectrum it
relinquished, would elect to channel share outside the auction context
and to relinquish spectrum without compensation. The Commission also
believes it is unlikely that a full power station that submitted an
unsuccessful channel sharing bid in the auction would seek to
relinquish its spectrum outside the auction context without
compensation in order to channel share rather than choosing another
option, such as selling its station.
5. In addition, by declining to allow full power stations without
auction-related CSAs to become sharees outside the auction context, the
Commission addresses concerns that full power channel sharing outside
the auction context could increase the number of full power stations
MVPDs are required to carry. First, absent this limitation, channel
sharing could allow unbuilt full power stations to become sharee
stations, thereby providing these stations with a shortcut to obtaining
carriage and artificially increasing the number of stations MVPDs are
required to carry. Second, absent this limitation, if a full power
station vacates its channel post-auction to share another station's
channel, the vacated channel could be made available for licensing to a
new full power station, thereby providing both the original station
(now transmitting on a shared channel) and the new station with must-
carry rights. Thus, by limiting full power sharees outside of the
auction context to only those with an auction-related CSA, the

[[Page 18242]]

Commission avoids an increase in the number of full power stations
MVPDs are required to carry under the must-carry regime.
6. Secondary Stations. The Commission permitted all secondary
stations to be sharee stations outside the auction context. As the
Commission has previously explained, channel sharing outside of the
auction context has the potential to increase the opportunities for
displaced secondary stations to survive the impending spectrum repack
and continue providing programming to the public. Channel sharing also
has the potential to reduce construction and operating costs for
resource-constrained secondary stations, including small, minority-
owned, and niche stations. Primary-secondary sharing will allow
secondary stations to expand their coverage areas by sharing with full
power sharer stations and provide them with increased interference
protection. This type of ``quasi'' interference protection may serve to
promote channel sharing as an attractive option to secondary stations
that are seeking a method to avoid displacement of their facilities by
primary users.
7. The Commission's decision to allow all secondary stations to
become sharee stations encompasses unbuilt secondary stations. This
approach will assist permittees of secondary stations who prefer to
commence service via channel sharing by allowing them to enter into a
CSA without first constructing a stand-alone station. Because sharee
stations must use the same transmission facility as the sharer, an
unbuilt sharee will be able to either divide initial construction costs
with the sharer or avoid such costs entirely. In addition, by sharing
ongoing costs like electricity and maintenance with the sharer station,
the unbuilt secondary permittee can free up resources that can be
devoted to improving programming services.
8. The Commission concludes that its action will not unduly burden
cable operators. As an initial matter, as discussed below, the
Commission interpret the must-carry provisions of the Act to deny
carriage rights to secondary sharee stations that are not exercising
must carry rights on their existing channel on the date of release of
the incentive auction Closing and Reassignment PN. Thus, although the
Commission allowed all secondary stations to become sharee stations
outside the auction context, it ensured that stations cannot use
sharing as a shortcut to obtaining cable carriage rights. Moreover,
unlike full power commercial stations, which are entitled to assert
mandatory carriage rights on cable systems throughout their DMA,
secondary stations qualify for must-carry on cable systems only under
very limited circumstances set forth in section 614 of the Act. The
strict requirements for carriage set forth in the Act will continue to
apply to secondary stations.
9. Sharer Stations. The Commission allowed all full power and
secondary stations to be sharer stations outside of the auction
context, including full power stations that are not a party to an
auction-related CSA. In a channel sharing relationship outside the
auction context, the sharee station relinquishes its licensed
frequencies without compensation and compensates the sharer station for
sharing its licensed frequency with the sharee. Although the Commission
concluded that full power stations that are not a party to an auction-
related CSA will likely have no incentive to enter into such an
arrangement, the same is not true for potential sharers, who stand to
benefit financially through payments from sharee stations. In addition,
the ability of such stations to become sharers also benefits other
stations by increasing the number of potential sharers. Allowing all
stations to be sharers outside the auction context will not increase
carriage burdens for MVPDs. Because a sharer station necessarily will
have already constructed and licensed its facilities, there is no
concern that such stations might use sharing as a shortcut to obtaining
MVPD carriage. In addition, because sharer stations do not relinquish
spectrum usage rights, allowing all stations to be sharers does not
present concerns with vacated channels being licensed to new stations
that could increase the number of stations MVPDs are required to carry.

Carriage Rights Outside the Auction Context

10. The Commission interpreted the Act as providing full power
stations with auction-related CSAs that subsequently become sharees
outside of the auction context, as well as their sharer station hosts,
with the same carriage rights at their shared location that they would
have if they were not channel sharing. It also interpretted the Act as
providing secondary sharee stations, as well as their sharer station
hosts, with the same carriage rights at their shared location that they
would have if they were not channel sharing, provided the sharee
station is exercising must carry rights on its existing channel on the
date of release of the Closing and Reassignment PN. The Commission
found that its interpretation will effectuate the statutory purposes
underlying the must-carry regime without burdening more speech than
necessary to further those interests.
11. The Commission concluded that the language of the must-carry
provisions is ambiguous with respect to the issue of carriage rights in
the context of channel sharing. The language of these provisions does
not expressly preclude channel sharing stations from retaining must-
carry rights at their shared location, nor does it compel a particular
result. For example, in the case of a full power commercial station
asserting mandatory cable carriage rights, both before and after the
CSA, the station will be a ``full power television broadcast station .
. . licensed and operating on a channel regularly assigned to its
community by the Commission that, with respect to a particular cable
system, is within the same television market as the cable system.''
Accordingly, the Commission chose a reasonable interpretation of the
statutory text that best effectuates the statutory purpose underlying
the must-carry regime.
12. The Commission disagreed with the National Cable and
Telecommunications Association's (NCTA) claim that the must-carry
provisions cannot be read to extend carriage rights to channel sharing
stations. The Commission did not agree that the definition of ``a local
commercial television station'' is inextricably tied to its assignment
to a 6 MHz channel and that, therefore, mandatory carriage obligations
extend to only one programming stream per 6 MHz channel. NCTA cited to
Section 534 of the Act, which defines a ``local commercial television
station'' as any commercial full power station ``licensed and operating
on a channel regularly assigned to its community by the Commission. . .
.'' NCTA noted that our rules currently define a ``channel'' as 6 MHz
wide. Sections 614, 615, and 338, however, accord carriage rights to
licensees without regard to whether they occupy a full 6 MHz channel or
share a channel with another licensee. The Commission concluded that
nothing in the Act requires a station to occupy an entire 6 MHz channel
in order to be eligible for must-carry rights; rather, the station must
simply be a licensee eligible for carriage under the applicable
provision of the Act. In this proceeding, the Commission revised its
rules to permit digital stations to share a 6 MHz channel and will
require that channel sharing stations be separately licensed and
authorized to operate on that channel. Under the rules adopted in this
R&O, therefore, both the sharer and sharee will be ``licensed and
operating

[[Page 18243]]

on a channel'' that is ``regularly assigned to its community'' by the
Commission.
13. The Commission also disagreed with NCTA that the Act's
``primary video'' restriction fails to preserve the carriage rights of
stations that enter into channel sharing arrangements outside the
context of the auction. NCTA asserted that the must-carry provisions of
the Act require cable operators to carry only one primary video signal
per television ``channel.'' In this regard, NCTA cited to Section 614
of the Act, which requires cable operators to carry only the ``primary
video'' of ``each of the local commercial television stations'' carried
on the cable system. NCTA argued that a broadcaster that gives up its
spectrum to transmit television programming using a portion of another
broadcaster's 6 MHz channel has no greater carriage rights than those
of the other broadcaster's multicast streams or the streams provided by
a lessee of the broadcaster's multicast capacity. However, the
Commission concluded that the language of the primary video provision
of the Act did not support NCTA's view. Section 614(b)(3)(A) requires a
cable operator to carry the primary video ``of each of the local
commercial television stations carried on the cable system.'' The
statute, therefore, imposed a requirement to carry one primary video
stream per station, not one primary video stream per channel.
14. The Commission also disagreed with NCTA's claim that Congress
specifically addressed the carriage rights of auction-related channel
sharing stations in the Spectrum Act because, absent this provision,
the must-carry provisions of the Act would not afford such rights.
Rather, in light of the ambiguity in the statutory language of the Act
with respect to the carriage rights of channel sharing stations, the
Commission concluded that Congress added this provision to provide
certainty to potential reverse auction bidders. Moreover, the Spectrum
Act did not simply clarify carriage rights under the Act, it also
limited the carriage rights of sharee stations in connection with the
incentive auction to those that possessed such rights on November 30,
2010.
15. Full Power Stations. The Commission interpreted the Act as
providing full power stations with auction-related CSAs that become
sharees outside of the auction context, as well as their sharer station
hosts, with the same carriage rights at their shared location that they
would have if they were not channel sharing. The Commission will
continue to apply the November 30, 2010 date for possession of carriage
rights to auction-related full power sharee stations entering into a
second-generation CSA. The Spectrum Act limits the carriage rights of
sharee stations in connection with the incentive auction to those that
possessed such rights on November 30, 2010. If the Commission did not
extend this date to second-generation CSAs, auction-related full power
sharees that did not possess carriage rights as of November 30, 2010
could enter into a short-term auction-related CSA, during which time
they would not possess carriage rights, and subsequently enter into a
second-generation CSA with carriage rights at the shared location. The
Commission concluded that extending the November 30, 2010 date for
possession of carriage rights to an auction-related full power sharee
entering into a second-generation CSA avoids undermining the statutory
objective of Section 1452(a)(4). Because Section 1452(a)(4) does not
apply to auction-related sharer stations, however, the Commission
declined to apply this date restriction to auction-related sharer
stations that become prospective sharee stations outside of the auction
context.
16. The Commission found that its interpretation will effectuate
the statutory purposes underlying the must-carry regime without
burdening more speech than necessary to further those interests. This
interpretation ensures that full power stations with auction-related
CSAs can continue to share outside the auction context once their
auction-related CSAs expire or otherwise terminate while retaining
their carriage rights. Full power stations with auction-related CSAs
already possess carriage rights and will continue to possess such
rights during the terms of their auction-related CSAs pursuant to
Section 1452(a)(4). Continuing carriage rights during the terms of
second-generation CSAs maintains these rights. If MVPDs stopped
carrying the signals of full power stations with auction-related CSAs
during second-generation CSAs, these broadcasters would stand to lose a
significant audience and associated advertising revenues, thus
jeopardizing their continued health and viability. In addition, absent
mandatory carriage during the terms of second-generation CSAs, winning
channel sharing bidders that indicated on their reverse auction
application a present intent to enter into an auction-related CSA after
the conclusion of the incentive auction might elect not to channel
share post-auction and to instead relinquish their license. Thus,
continued carriage of full power stations with auction-related CSAs
serves the important governmental interests of preserving the benefits
of free, over-the-air broadcast television and their contribution to
source diversity.
17. The Commission found that its interpretation will not burden
more speech than necessary. First, because full power stations that are
parties to auction-related CSAs have already built and licensed their
stations on a non-shared channel, our action does not provide unbuilt
full power stations with a shortcut to obtaining carriage rights, which
would increase the number of stations MVPDs are required to carry.
Second, its decision declining to allow full power stations without
auction-related CSAs to become sharees outside the auction context
mitigates NCTA's concern regarding the potential increase in MVPD
carriage obligations that could result from licensing new stations on
channels vacated as a result of new post-auction sharing arrangements.
Because the Commission permits only full power stations that are
already parties to an auction-related CSA to become sharees outside of
the auction context, there will be no full power channels vacated after
the auction by full power stations electing to become channel sharees.
Third, the Commission precluded full power stations with auction-
related CSAs that become sharees outside of the auction context from
changing their community of license absent an amendment to the DTV
Table. These actions will further mitigate the impact of channel
sharing on MVPD carriage burdens.
18. Secondary Stations. The Commission interpreted the Act as
providing secondary sharee stations, as well as their sharer station
hosts, with the same carriage rights at their shared location that they
would have if they were not channel sharing, provided the sharee
station is exercising must carry rights on its existing channel on the
date of release of the Closing and Reassignment PN.
19. The Commission found that its interpretation will effectuate
the statutory purposes underlying the must-carry regime without
burdening more speech than necessary to further those interests.
Sharing could prove beneficial for secondary stations by mitigating the
impact of the incentive auction and repacking process on displaced
stations. If cable operators did not carry the signals of secondary
sharee stations and their sharer hosts that otherwise qualify for
carriage under Section 614(h)(2), these broadcasters would stand to
lose a significant audience and associated advertising revenues, thus
jeopardizing

[[Page 18244]]

their continued health and viability. Carriage of secondary sharees and
their sharer hosts that otherwise qualify for carriage under Section
614(h)(2) serves the important governmental interests of preserving the
benefits of free, over-the-air broadcast television and their
contribution to source diversity. The Commission interpreted the Act in
a manner that will minimize the possibility of a net increase in
carriage burdens.
20. Although the Commission allowed all secondary stations to
become sharee stations outside the auction context, it did not permit
secondary stations to enter into channel sharing arrangements solely as
a means to newly obtain must-carry rights. The Commission found that it
would not serve the purpose of mitigating the impact of the auction and
repacking process on displaced LPTV stations to permit stations to
qualify for carriage, when they previously were unable to do so under
the Act, simply because they have decided to channel share. In order
for a secondary sharee station to be eligible for carriage rights at
the shared location under the Commission's interpretation, it must
qualify for, and be exercising, must carry rights on its existing
channel on the date of release of the Closing and Reassignment PN. The
Commission chose this date to consider whether a secondary station is
exercising must-carry rights because the Media Bureau has previously
notified secondary stations that they must be in operation by this date
in order to be eligible for the special post-auction displacement
window.
21. The Commission concluded that affording secondary sharees with
the same carriage rights at their shared location that they would have
if they were not channel sharing, provided the sharee station is
exercising must carry rights on its existing channel as of the date of
release of the Closing and Reassignment PN, will not burden more speech
than necessary. Even if a secondary station is exercising carriage
rights on its existing channel as of this date, it must still
independently satisfy the statutory requirements for carriage at the
shared location in order to have carriage rights once it begins channel
sharing. As noted above, secondary stations qualify for must-carry on
cable systems only under very limited circumstances set forth in the
Act. Even assuming that a channel vacated by a secondary sharee is made
available for licensing to a new secondary station, the strict
statutory requirements for carriage make the likelihood that the new
secondary station would qualify for carriage very low. For the same
reason, it is unlikely that a secondary sharee station would qualify
for carriage at a shared location. The probability that the sharee
would qualify for carriage is reduced even further by two additional
factors. First, the Commission limited the distance of secondary sharee
station moves resulting from channel sharing. Second, a secondary
station sharing the channel of a full power station would not be
eligible for mandatory carriage under Section 614(h)(2)(F) of the Act,
which the Commission has previously interpreted to mean that ``if a
full power station is located in the same county or political
subdivision (of a State) as an otherwise `qualified' low power station,
the low power station will not be eligible for must-carry status.''
Channel sharing stations necessarily share the same transmission
facility and, thus, are necessarily ``located in the same county or
political subdivision (of a State).'' Thus, consistent with the
Commission's previous interpretation of this statutory provision, when
a secondary station shares with a full power station, the secondary
station will not qualify for mandatory carriage because it will be
located in the same county or political subdivision as a full power
station.
22. Class A Stations. The Commission permitted all Class A stations
to be sharee stations or sharer stations outside the auction context.
For Class A stations that enter into CSAs for the first time outside
the incentive auction context, the Commission interpreted the Act as
providing such Class A sharee stations, as well as their sharer station
hosts, with the same carriage rights at their shared location that they
would have if they were not channel sharing provided the Class A sharee
meets the same condition we impose above for secondary stations; that
is, it is exercising must carry rights on the date of release of the
Closing and Reassignment PN. As with secondary stations, this
limitation ensures that these Class A stations do not qualify for
carriage, when they previously were unable to do so under the Act,
simply because they have decided to channel share. The Commission
treated Class A stations participating in second-generation CSAs
differently. For a Class A station that participated in an auction-
related CSA, and that enters into a second-generation CSA once their
auction-related CSA ends, the Commission interpreted the Act as
providing the Class A sharee, and their sharer station host, with the
same carriage rights at their shared location that they would have if
they were not channel sharing provided the Class A sharee exercised
carriage rights under its original, ``first-generation,'' auction-
related CSA. The Commission treated Class A stations participating in
second-generation CSAs differently to ensure that these Class A
stations can continue to exercise their carriage rights in subsequent
CSAs if they qualified for, and exercised, carriage rights in their
first-generation CSA. This approach does not increase carriage burdens
for MVPDs beyond those created by first-generation CSAs pursuant to the
Spectrum Act.
23. Channel sharing outside the auction context has the potential
to increase the opportunities for displaced Class A stations to survive
the impending spectrum repack and continue providing programming to the
public. With respect to cable carriage, however, Class A stations are
treated identically to secondary stations under the Communications Act
and thus qualify for must-carry on cable systems only under very
limited circumstances set forth in the Act. Even assuming that a
channel vacated by a Class A station is made available for licensing to
a new low power station, the likelihood that the new low power station
would qualify for carriage is low given the very limited circumstances
under which a low power station qualifies for carriage under the Act.
In addition, as with secondary stations, it is unlikely that a Class A
sharee station would qualify for carriage at a shared location because
of the very limited circumstances under which a Class A station
qualifies for carriage under the Act, the Commission's decision to
limit the distance of Class A sharee station moves resulting from
channel sharing, and the fact that a Class A station sharing with a
full power station would not be eligible for mandatory carriage under
Section 614(h)(2)(F) of the Act.

Licensing and Operating Rules Applicable to Channel Sharing Outside the
Auction Context

24. Licensing Rules for Primary-Primary and Primary-Secondary
Channel Sharing--Voluntary and Flexible. Channel sharing between
primary stations and between primary and secondary stations outside of
the auction will be ``entirely voluntary.'' Stations can structure
their CSAs in a manner that will allow a variety of different types of
spectrum sharing to meet the individualized programming and economic
needs of the parties involved. The Commission will, however, require
each station involved in a CSA to operate in digital on the shared
channel and to retain spectrum usage rights sufficient to ensure at
least enough capacity to operate one standard

[[Page 18245]]

definition (SD) programming stream at all times. The Commission will
not prescribe a fixed split of the capacity of the 6 MHz channel
between the stations from a technological or licensing perspective. All
channel sharing stations will be licensed for the entire capacity of
the 6 MHz channel, and stations will be allowed to determine the manner
in which that capacity will be divided among themselves subject only to
the minimum capacity requirement.
25. The Commission will apply its existing framework for channel
sharing licensing and operation to sharing between primary stations and
between primary and secondary stations. Under this framework, each
sharing station will continue to be licensed separately, each will have
its own call sign, and each licensee will be independently subject to
all of the Commission's obligations, rules, and policies. The
Commission retains the right to enforce any violation of these
requirements against one or both parties to the CSA. As is always the
case, the Commission would take into account all relevant facts and
circumstances in any enforcement action, including the relevant
contractual obligations of the parties involved.
26. Similar to its approach for auction-related and secondary-
secondary CSAs, the Commission will permit term-limited CSAs outside
the auction context for primary-primary and primary-secondary sharing.
The Commission declined to establish a minimum term for non-auction-
related CSAs. While some commenters supported requiring a three-year
minimum term for CSAs outside the auction context, the Commission was
not persuaded at this point that this step is necessary to protect
viewers and MVPDs from unnecessary disruption or costs.
27. Licensing Procedures. The Commission adopted a two-step process
for reviewing and licensing channel sharing arrangements that fit
within the categories authorized in this R&O. For the first step, if no
technical changes are necessary for sharing, a channel sharee station
will file the appropriate schedule to FCC Form 2100 for a digital
construction permit specifying the same technical facilities as the
sharer station (Schedule A, C or E), include a copy of the channel
sharing agreement (CSA) as an exhibit, and cross reference the other
sharing station(s). In this case, the sharer station does not need to
take action at this point. If the CSA requires technical changes to the
sharer station's facilities, each sharing station will file the
appropriate schedule to FCC Form 2100 to apply for a digital
construction permit specifying identical technical facilities for the
shared channel, along with the CSA.
28. The Commission will treat modification applications filed to
implement the additional channel sharing arrangements as minor change
applications, subject to certain exceptions. Although a channel sharing
arrangement results in a sharee station changing channels, which is a
major change under our rules, the Commission concludes that treating
channel changes as minor when done in connection with channel sharing
is appropriate because the sharee will be assuming the authorized
technical facilities of the sharer station, meaning that compliance
with our interference and other technical rules would have been
addressed in licensing the sharer station. In the case of a full power
sharee station, the Commission will consider any loss in service
resulting from the proposed sharing arrangement at the construction
permit stage in determining whether to grant the permit. The Commission
noted that, with channel sharing, service loss in one area (i.e., a
portion of the area previously served by the sharee) might result in a
gain in service to a different area (i.e., that served by the sharer).
Moreover, absent the proposed sharing arrangement, a full power sharee
station might not be able to continue to provide service, such as in
the case of the expiration or termination of its current CSA. The Media
Bureau will consider these and other factors in determining whether a
sharing arrangement proposed by a full power sharee station is
consistent with section 307(b) and serves the public interest.
29. In addition, while a full power television station seeking to
change its channel normally must first submit a petition to amend the
DTV Table of Allotments (Table), the Commission will not apply this
process to full power sharee stations. Rather, after the full power
sharee station's construction permit is granted, the Bureau will amend
the Table on its own motion to reflect the change in the channel
allotted to the sharee station's community.
30. The Commission will begin accepting non-auction-related channel
sharing applications on a date after the completion of the incentive
auction specified by the Media Bureau. With respect to a full power or
Class A station sharing with a secondary station, if the sharee is a
secondary station that is displaced as a result of the incentive
auction or repacking process, it will not have to wait for the post-
incentive auction displacement window to file its displacement
application to propose sharing the sharer station's facilities. Rather,
beginning on the specified date, the secondary sharee station may file
an application for a construction permit for the same technical
facilities of the primary station and include a copy of the CSA as an
exhibit. If the secondary station is the sharer and that station is
displaced as a result of the incentive auction or repacking process,
then, the secondary sharer would file during the post-incentive auction
displacement window if it is eligible. If none of the parties to a non-
auction-related CSA is a station that was displaced as a result of the
incentive auction or repacking process, then the sharee station(s) may
file channel sharing application(s) beginning on the date after the
completion of the incentive auction specified by the Media Bureau.
31. As a second step, after the sharing stations have obtained the
necessary construction permits, implemented their shared facility, and
initiated shared operations, the sharee station(s) will notify the
Commission that the station has terminated operation on its former
channel. At the same time, all sharing stations will file the
appropriate schedule to Form 2100 for a license in order to complete
the licensing process (Schedule B, D or F). Parties to channel sharing
arrangements outside of the auction context will have three years to
implement their arrangements.
32. Service and Technical Rules, Including Interference
Protection--Primary-Primary Sharing. A Class A sharee that opts to
share a full power sharer's channel outside of the auction will be
permitted to operate with the technical facilities of the full power
station authorized under Part 73 of the rules. Conversely, a full power
sharee sharing a Class A sharer's channel will be required to operate
at the Class A station's lower Part 74 power level. As with channel
sharing between full power and Class A stations in the incentive
auction context, the channel of a full power sharer sharing with a
Class A sharee will remain in the DTV Table. In the case of a full
power sharee that chooses to share the ``non-tabled'' channel of a
Class A station, the Commission will amend the DTV Table to reflect the
change in the channel allotted to the full power sharee station's
community.
33. A full power sharee station sharing a channel with a Class A
sharer station will continue to be obligated to comply with the
programming and other operational obligations of a Part 73 licensee. A
Class A sharee station sharing a channel with a full power

[[Page 18246]]

sharer station will continue to be obligated to comply with the
programming and other operational obligations of a Class A licensee,
including airing a minimum of 18 hours a day and an average of at least
three hours per week of locally produced programming each quarter, as
required by Sec. 73.6001 of the rules.
34. Primary-Secondary Sharing. A secondary LPTV or TV translator
station that shares the channel of a full power television station will
be permitted to operate with the technical facilities of the full power
station, including at the higher power limit specified in Part 73 of
the rules. The channel of a full power sharer station sharing with a
secondary LPTV or TV translator sharee station will remain in the DTV
Table. LPTV and TV translators that share the channel of a Class A
station will continue to be limited to operation at the lower power
specified for LPTV, TV translator, and Class A stations in Part 74 of
our rules. An LPTV or TV translator station that shares a full power or
Class A station's channel will obtain ``quasi'' primary interference
protection for the duration of the channel sharing arrangement by
virtue of the fact that the full power or Class A station is a primary
licensee. Although the secondary station will continue to be licensed
with secondary interference protection status, the host full power or
Class A television station's primary status protects it from
interference or displacement, and this protection will necessarily
carry over to any station that is sharing its channel.
35. A full power sharee that shares a secondary station's channel
will have to operate with the lower power limits specified in Part 74
of the rules for LPTV and TV translator stations. When a full power
sharee shares the ``non-tabled'' channel of a LPTV or TV translator
station, we will amend the DTV Table to reflect the change in the
channel allotted to the sharee station's community. A full power or
Class A sharee sharing a channel with a secondary station sharer will
be subject to displacement because it will be sharing a channel with
secondary interference protection rights.
36. A full power sharee station sharing a channel with a secondary
sharer station will continue to be obligated to comply with the
programming and other operational obligations of a Part 73 licensee.
Similarly, a Class A sharee station sharing a channel with a secondary
sharer station will continue to be obligated to comply with the
programming and other operational obligations applicable to Class A
licensees. A secondary sharee station sharing a channel with a full
power or Class A sharer station will continue to be subject to the
programming and other operational obligations applicable to LPTV or
translator stations and will not be subject to such obligations
applicable to full power or Class A stations.
37. The Commission declined to adopt Roy Mayhugh's suggestions to
formally relicense LPTV stations as full power stations if the LPTV
station shares its channel with a full power station, or to allow a
full power station sharing on a secondary station's channel to retain
its primary interference protection. This would result in the formal
creation of a new class of primary stations. The Commission did not
believe it is appropriate to use this proceeding to make such extensive
changes to our licensing or technical rules. The Commission also
declined to adopt ICN's proposal that primary stations be given
priority access to the best remaining repacked channels in a market if
they agree to share with a secondary station and grant access to at
least one-third of their bandwidth. This proposal would have required
adding constraints on the reverse auction and repacking processes that
have long since been established and were utilized in the incentive
auction. In addition, the Commission rejected Media General's
suggestion that it exempt stations that enter into CSAs outside the
auction context from the Commission's multiple ownership rules to
provide an incentive for stations to enter into a non-auction-related
CSA. Media General presented no legal or policy basis on which we
should alter our multiple ownership restrictions and thereby reduce
ownership and program diversity to promote CSAs outside the auction
context.
38. Reserved-Channel NCE Sharing Stations. A reserved-channel full
power NCE licensee, whether it proposes to share a non-reserved channel
or agrees to share its reserved channel with a commercial sharee
station, will retain its NCE status and must continue to comply with
the rules applicable to NCE licensees. In either case, the NCE full
power station's portion of the shared channel will be reserved for NCE-
only use.
39. Station Relocations to Implement Channel Sharing. The
Commission will preclude full power stations seeking to channel share
as sharee stations outside of the incentive auction from changing their
community of license absent an amendment to the DTV Table. Absent such
amendment, we will limit these stations to a CSA with a sharer from
whose transmitter site the sharee will continue to meet the community
of license signal requirement over its current community of license.
This approach differs from the one the Commission took with respect to
channel sharing in the auction context, where the Commission sought to
facilitate broadcaster participation in the auction and to avoid any
detrimental impact on the speed and certainty of the auction. Because
those considerations do not apply outside the auction context, the
Commission disagreed with EBOC that it should provide the same
relocation flexibility to channel sharees outside the auction.
Precluding full power sharee stations from changing their communities
of license absent an amendment to the DTV Table advances the
Commission's interest in the provision of service to local communities.
While our goal is to accommodate channel sharing, the Commission also
seeks to ensure that stations continue to provide service to their
communities of license and to avoid situations in which stations
abandon their communities in order to relocate to more populated
markets. In addition, this approach will help to avoid viewer
disruption and any potential impact on MVPDs that might result from
community of license changes.
40. The Commission will apply the existing 30-mile and contour
overlap restrictions that apply to Class A moves to Class A sharee
stations that propose to move as a result of a sharing arrangement.
Specifically, if requested in conjunction with a digital displacement
application, a station relocation resulting from a proposed CSA, in
order to be considered a minor change, may not be greater than 30 miles
from the reference coordinates of the relocating station's community of
license. In all other cases, a station relocating as a result of a
proposed CSA, in order to be considered a minor change: (i) Must
maintain overlap between the protected contour of its existing and
proposed facilities; and (ii) may not relocate more than 30 miles from
the reference coordinates of the relocating station's antenna location.
The Commission concluded that continued application of these
restrictions was necessary to curtail abuse of the Commission's
policies by stations seeking to relocate large distances in order to
move to more populated markets under the cover of needing to implement
a channel sharing arrangement. At the same time, it stated that it
would consider waivers for secondary stations to allow channel sharing
modifications that do not comply with these limits.

[[Page 18247]]

41. The Commission will consider waivers of the Part 74
modification restrictions based on the same criteria it adopted for
channel sharing between secondary stations. A displaced LPTV or TV
translator station (or auction ineligible Class A station displaced by
the incentive auction or repacking) proposing to channel share with a
station located more than 30 miles from the reference coordinates of
the displaced station's community of license will have to show: (i)
That there are no channels available that comply with section
74.787(a)(4) of the rules; and (ii) that the proposed sharer station is
the station closest to the reference coordinates of the displaced
station's community of license that is available for channel sharing.
The Commission will apply a stricter standard for requests for waiver
of our relocation rules with respect to non-displaced Class A, LPTV,
and TV translator stations because the proposed modification would be
voluntary. In such cases, it will consider a waiver if the station
seeking to relocate demonstrates: (i) That there is no other channel
sharing partner that operates with a location that would comply with
the contour overlap and 30-mile restrictions on the station seeking the
waiver; and (ii) the population in the relocating station's loss area
is de minimis, and/or well-served, and/or would continue to receive the
programming aired by the relocating station from another station.
42. For any CSA that involves licensing both a full power sharee
and Class A, LPTV, or TV translator sharer, the Commission will combine
the above outlined restriction on full power sharees changing their
community of license with the limits on modifications to Class A, LPTV
and TV translator station facilities outlined in the rules. Thus, a
full power sharee station seeking to implement a CSA with a Class A,
LPTV or TV translator station will not be permitted to change its
community of license. A Class A, LPTV, or TV translator sharee station
seeking to implement a CSA with a full power station will be subject to
the 30-mile and contour overlap restrictions described above.

Channel Sharing Operating Rules

43. Channel Sharing Agreements. The Commission will require that
all CSAs entered into pursuant to the rules we adopt herein include
provisions outlining each licensee's rights and responsibilities in the
following areas: (i) Access to facilities, including whether each
licensee will have unrestricted access to the shared transmission
facilities; (ii) allocation of bandwidth within the shared channel;
(iii) operation, maintenance, repair, and modification of facilities,
including a list of all relevant equipment, a description of each
party's financial obligations, and any relevant notice provisions; (iv)
transfer/assignment of a shared license, including the ability of a new
licensee to assume the existing CSA; and (v) termination of the license
of a party to the CSA, including reversion of spectrum usage rights to
the remaining parties to the CSA. Channel sharing partners may craft
provisions as they choose, based on marketplace negotiations, subject
to pertinent statutory requirements and the Commission's rules and
regulations. A station seeking approval to channel share must submit a
copy of its CSA along with its application for a digital construction
permit. The Commission will review the CSA to ensure compliance with
our rules and policies. It will limit its review to confirming that the
CSA contains the required provisions and that any terms beyond those
related to sharing of bitstream and related technical facilities
comport with our general rules and policies regarding license
agreements. The Commission reserves the right to require modification
of a CSA that does not comply with its rules or policies.
44. Termination, Assignment/Transfer, and Relinquishment of Channel
Sharing Licenses. The Commission will allow rights under a CSA to be
assigned or transferred, subject to the limits adopted in this R&O, the
requirements of Section 310 of the Communications Act, the Commission's
rules, and the requirement that the assignee or transferee comply with
the applicable CSA. When a primary or secondary sharing station's
license is terminated due to voluntary relinquishment, revocation,
failure to renew, or any other circumstance, its spectrum usage rights
(but not its license) may revert to the remaining sharing partner(s) if
the partner(s) so agree and this provision is set forth in the CSA. In
the event that only one station remains on the shared channel, that
station may apply to change its license to non-shared status using FCC
Form 2100--Schedule B (for a full power station), Schedule D (for an
LPTV/translator station), or Schedule F (for a Class A station). If a
full power station that is sharing with a Class A, LPTV, or TV
translator station relinquishes its license, then the Class A, LPTV, or
TV translator station would operate under the rules governing their
particular service (Class A, LPTV, or TV translator). Similarly, if a
Class A station that is sharing with a LPTV or TV translator station
relinquishes its license, then the LPTV or TV translator station would
operate under the rules governing their particular service. If the
sharing partner is an NCE station operating on a reserved channel, its
portion of the shared channel must continue to be reserved for NCE-only
use. The Commission recognized the important public service mission of
NCE stations, and it disfavors dereserving NCE-only channels. Thus, in
the unlikely event that a reserved-channel NCE station that shares with
a commercial station faces involuntary license termination, creating a
risk of dereservation, the Commission will exercise its broad
discretion to ensure that the public interest is served.

Reimbursement

45. The Commission will not require reimbursement of costs imposed
on MVPDs as a result of CSAs entered into outside the context of the
incentive auction, including costs resulting from second-generation
CSAs of auction-related sharees. The current rules do not require
reimbursement of MVPD costs in connection with channel changes or other
changes that modify carriage obligations outside the auction context.
Further, the reimbursement provisions of the Spectrum Act apply only to
CSAs made in connection with winning channel sharing bids in the
incentive auction. Accordingly, costs associated with channel sharing
outside the auction will be borne by broadcasters and MVPDs in the same
manner as they are for other channel moves. While the Commission has
explained previously that channel sharing may impose some costs on
MVPDs, there is no record evidence to suggest that the cost to MVPDs of
accommodating channel sharing outside the auction context will impose
an undue burden. The Commission retained the right to reconsider our
decision in this regard should we receive future evidence to the
contrary.

Notice to MVPDs

46. The Commission will require stations participating in CSAs
outside the auction context to provide notice to those MVPDs that: (i)
No longer will be required to carry the station because of the
relocation of the station; (ii) currently carry and will continue to be
obligated to carry a station that will change channels; or (iii) will
become obligated to carry the station due to a channel sharing
relocation. The notice must contain the following information: (i) Date
and time of any channel

[[Page 18248]]

changes; (ii) the channel occupied by the station before and after
implementation of the CSA; (iii) modification, if any, to antenna
position, location, or power levels; (iv) stream identification
information; and (v) engineering staff contact information. Stations
may elect whether to provide notice via a letter notification or
electronically, if pre-arranged with the relevant MVPD. The Commission
will require that sharee stations provide notice at least 90 days prior
to terminating operations on the sharee's channel and that both sharer
and sharee stations provide notice at least 90 days prior to initiation
of operations on the sharer channel. Should the anticipated date to
either cease operations or commence channel sharing operation change,
the station(s) must send a further notice to affected MVPDs informing
them of the new anticipated date(s). Finally, during the 90-day notice
period, the parties to the CSA are expected to continue to coordinate
the implementation of the CSA with each MVPD that they seek to carry
their transmissions.

ATSC 3.0

47. The Commission stated that the conclusions it reached regarding
channel sharing outside the context of the incentive auction, including
our interpretation of the Communications Act's must-carry provisions
with respect to channel sharing stations, apply to situations in which
one station relinquishes a channel in order to channel share. They are
not intended to prejudge issues regarding ``local simulcasting'' that
are raised in the pending proceeding regarding the ATSC 3.0 broadcast
transmission standard.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended
(RFA), Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analyses (``IRFAs'') were
incorporated in the First Order on Reconsideration and Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking and Third Report and Order and Fourth Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking (``NPRMs''). The Commission sought written public
comment on the proposals in the NPRMs, including comment on the IRFAs.
Because the Commission amended the rules in this R&O, it included this
Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (``FRFA'') which conforms to the
RFA.

Need for and Objectives of the Rules

The Report and Order adopts rules permitting full power stations
with auction-related channel sharing agreements (CSAs) to become
``sharee'' stations outside the auction context. Our goal in this
regard is to permit full power stations with auction-related CSAs to
continue to share, and to find a new host station, once their auction-
related CSAs expire or otherwise terminate. We also adopt rules to
allow all secondary stations, including those that have not yet
constructed facilities and are not operating at the time they enter
into a CSA, to share a channel with another secondary station or with a
full power or Class A station. This action will reduce construction and
operating costs for resource-constrained secondary stations and assist
those secondary stations that are displaced by the incentive auction
and the repacking process to continue to operate in the post-auction
television bands. We also permit all Class A stations to become sharee
stations outside the auction context. In addition, we permit all
stations, both primary and secondary, to be ``sharers'' outside the
auction context. The rules we adopt in this Report and Order will
enhance the benefits of channel sharing for broadcasters without
imposing significant burdens on multichannel video programming
distributors (MVPDs).

Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to
the IRFA

No formal comments were filed on the IRFAs but some commenters
raised issues concerning the impact of the various proposals in this
proceeding on small entities. These comments were considered in the
Report and Order and in the FRFA.

Response to Comments by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small
Business Administration

No comments were filed on the IRFAs by the Small Business
Administration.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities To Which the
Rules Will Apply

The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where
feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be
affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The following small
entities, as well as an estimate of the number of such small entities,
are discussed in the FRFA: Full power television stations; (2) Class A
TV and LPTV stations; (3) Wired Telecommunications Carriers; (4) Cable
Companies and Systems (Rate Regulation); (5) Cable System Operators
(Telecom Act Standard); and (6) Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS)
Service.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Compliance
Requirements

The R&O adopted the adopted the following new reporting
requirements. To implement channel sharing outside of the auction
context, the Commission will follow a two-step process--stations will
first file an application for construction permit and then an
application for license. Stations terminating operations to share a
channel will be required to submit a termination notice pursuant to the
existing Commission rule. These existing forms and collections will be
revised to accommodate these new channel-sharing related filings and to
expand the burden estimates. In addition, channel sharing stations will
be required to submit their channel sharing agreements (CSAs) with the
Commission and be required to include certain provisions in their CSAs.
In addition, if upon termination of the license of a party to a CSA
only one party to the CSA remains, the remaining licensee may file an
application to change its license to non-shared status. The existing
collection concerning the execution and filing of CSAs will be revised.
In addition, stations participating in CSAs outside the auction context
are required to provide notice to those MVPDs that: (i) No longer will
be required to carry the station because of the relocation of the
station; (ii) currently carry and will continue to be obligated to
carry a station that will change channels; or (iii) will become
obligated to carry the station due to a channel sharing relocation. The
existing collection concerning MVPD notification will be revised.
These new reporting requirements will not differently affect small
entities.

Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Impact on Small Entities, and
Significant Alternatives Considered

The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives
that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may
include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) The
establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or
timetables that take into account the resources available to small
entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of
compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities;
(3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an
exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small
entities.

[[Page 18249]]

The rules adopted in the R&O will allow full power stations with
auction-related CSAs to continue to share, and to find a new host
station, once their auction-related CSAs expire or otherwise terminate,
thereby allowing them to continue to provide service to the public. In
addition, channel sharing can help resource-constrained Class A and
secondary stations, including existing small, minority-owned, and niche
stations, to reduce operating costs and provide them with additional
net income to strengthen operations and improve programming services.
The rules adopted in the R&O could also assist stations that are
displaced by the incentive auction reorganization of spectrum by
allowing these stations to channel share and thereby reduce the cost of
having to build a new facility to replace the one that was displaced.
Stations can share in the cost of building a shared channel facility
and will experience cost savings by operating a shared transmission
facility. In addition, channel sharing is voluntary and only those
stations that determine that channel sharing will be advantageous will
enter into this arrangement. At the same time, the sharing rules will
not impose significant burdens on multichannel video programming
distributors (MVPDs). For example, by limiting full power sharees
outside of the auction context to only those with an auction-related
CSA, the Commission avoided an increase in the number of full power
stations MVPDs are required to carry under the must-carry regime.
The Commission's licensing and operating and MVPD notice rules for
channel sharing outside of the auction context were designed to
minimize impact on small entities. The rules provide a streamlined
method for reviewing and licensing channel sharing for these stations
as well as a streamlined method for resolving cases where a channel
sharing station loses its license on the shared channel. These rules
were designed to reduce the burden and cost on small entities.

Report to Congress

The Commission will send a copy of the R&O, including the FRFA, in
a report to be sent to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review
Act. In addition, the Commission will send a copy of the R&O, including
the FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA. A copy of the
R&O and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will also be published in the
Federal Register.

List of Subjects in 47 CFR Parts 73 and 74

Television.

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary.

Final Rules

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal
Communications Commission amends 47 CFR parts 73 and 74 as follows:

PART 73--RADIO BROADCAST SERVICES

0
1. The authority citation for part 73 continues to read as follows:

Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 334, 336 and 339.


0
2. Section 73.3572 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(3) to read as
follows:


Sec. 73.3572 Processing of TV broadcast, Class A TV broadcast, low
power TV, TV translators, and TV booster applications.

* * * * *
(a) * * *
(3) Other changes will be considered minor including changes made
to implement a channel sharing arrangement provided they comply with
the other provisions of this section and provided, until October 1,
2000, proposed changes to the facilities of Class A TV, low power TV,
TV translator and TV booster stations, other than a change in
frequency, will be considered minor only if the change(s) will not
increase the signal range of the Class A TV, low power TV or TV booster
in any horizontal direction.
* * * * *

0
3. Section 73.3800 is added to read as follows:


Sec. 73.3800 Full power television channel sharing outside the
incentive auction.

(a) Eligibility. Subject to the provisions of this section, a full
power television station with an auction-related Channel Sharing
Agreement (CSA) may voluntarily seek Commission approval to relinquish
its channel to share a single six megahertz channel with a full power,
Class A, low power, or TV translator television station. An auction-
related CSA is a CSA filed with and approved by the Commission pursuant
to Sec. 73.3700(b)(1)(vii).
(b) Licensing of channel sharing stations. (1) Each station sharing
a single channel pursuant to this section shall continue to be licensed
and operated separately, have its own call sign, and be separately
subject to all applicable Commission obligations, rules, and policies.
(2) A full power television channel sharing station relinquishing
its channel must file an application for a construction permit (FCC
Form 2100), include a copy of the CSA as an exhibit, and cross
reference the other sharing station(s). Any engineering changes
necessitated by the CSA may be included in the station's application.
Upon initiation of shared operations, the station relinquishing its
channel must notify the Commission that it has terminated operation
pursuant to Sec. 73.1750 and each sharing station must file an
application for license (FCC Form 2100).
(c) Channel sharing between full power television stations and
Class A, Low power television, or TV translator stations. (1) A full
power television sharee station (defined as a station relinquishing a
channel in order to share) that is a party to a CSA with a Class A
sharer station (defined as the station hosting a sharee pursuant to a
CSA) must comply with the rules governing power levels and interference
applicable to Class A stations, and must comply in all other respects
with the rules and policies applicable to full power television
stations set forth in this part.
(2) A full power television sharee station that is a party to a CSA
with a low power television or TV translator sharer station must comply
with the rules of part 74 of this chapter governing power levels and
interference applicable to low power television or TV translator
stations, and must comply in all other respects with the rules and
policies applicable to full power television stations set forth in this
part.
(d) Channel sharing between commercial and noncommercial
educational television stations. (1) A CSA may be executed between
commercial and NCE broadcast television station licensees.
(2) The licensee of an NCE station operating on a reserved channel
under Sec. 73.621 that becomes a party to a CSA, either as a channel
sharee station or as a channel sharer station, will retain its NCE
status and must continue to comply with Sec. 73.621.
(3) If the licensee of an NCE station operating on a reserved
channel under Sec. 73.621 becomes a party to a CSA, either as a
channel sharee station or as a channel sharer station, the portion of
the shared television channel on which the NCE station operates shall
be reserved for NCE-only use.
(4) The licensee of an NCE station operating on a reserved channel
under Sec. 73.621 that becomes a party to a CSA

[[Page 18250]]

may assign or transfer its shared license only to an entity qualified
under Sec. 73.621 as an NCE television licensee.
(e) Deadline for implementing CSAs. CSAs submitted pursuant to this
section must be implemented within three years of the grant of the
channel sharing construction permit.
(f) Channel sharing agreements (CSAs). (1) CSAs submitted under
this section must contain provisions outlining each licensee's rights
and responsibilities regarding:
(i) Access to facilities, including whether each licensee will have
unrestrained access to the shared transmission facilities;
(ii) Allocation of bandwidth within the shared channel;
(iii) Operation, maintenance, repair, and modification of
facilities, including a list of all relevant equipment, a description
of each party's financial obligations, and any relevant notice
provisions; and
(iv) Transfer/assignment of a shared license, including the ability
of a new licensee to assume the existing CSA; and
(v) Termination of the license of a party to the CSA, including
reversion of spectrum usage rights to the remaining parties to the CSA.
(2) CSAs must include provisions:
(i) Affirming compliance with the channel sharing requirements in
this section and all relevant Commission rules and policies; and
(ii) Requiring that each channel sharing licensee shall retain
spectrum usage rights adequate to ensure a sufficient amount of the
shared channel capacity to allow it to provide at least one Standard
Definition program stream at all times.
(g) Termination and assignment/transfer of shared channel. (1) Upon
termination of the license of a party to a CSA, the spectrum usage
rights covered by that license may revert to the remaining parties to
the CSA. Such reversion shall be governed by the terms of the CSA in
accordance with paragraph (f)(1)(v) of this section. If upon
termination of the license of a party to a CSA only one party to the
CSA remains, the remaining licensee may file an application for license
to change its status to non-shared.
(2) If the rights under a CSA are transferred or assigned, the
assignee or the transferee must comply with the terms of the CSA in
accordance with paragraph (f)(1)(iv) of this section. If the transferee
or assignee and the licensees of the remaining channel sharing station
or stations agree to amend the terms of the existing CSA, the agreement
may be amended, subject to Commission approval.
(h) Notice to MVPDs. (1) Stations participating in channel sharing
agreements must provide notice to MVPDs that:
(i) No longer will be required to carry the station because of the
relocation of the station;
(ii) Currently carry and will continue to be obligated to carry a
station that will change channels; or
(iii) Will become obligated to carry the station due to a channel
sharing relocation.
(2) The notice required by this section must contain the following
information:
(i) Date and time of any channel changes;
(ii) The channel occupied by the station before and after
implementation of the CSA;
(iii) Modification, if any, to antenna position, location, or power
levels;
(iv) Stream identification information; and
(v) Engineering staff contact information.
(3) Should any of the information in paragraph (h)(2) of this
section change, an amended notification must be sent.
(4) Sharee stations must provide notice as required by this section
at least 90 days prior to terminating operations on the sharee's
channel. Sharer stations and sharee stations must provide notice as
required by this section at least 90 days prior to initiation of
operations on the sharer channel. Should the anticipated date to either
cease operations or commence channel sharing operations change, the
stations must send a further notice to affected MVPDs informing them of
the new anticipated date(s).
(5) Notifications provided to cable systems pursuant to this
section must be either mailed to the system's official address of
record provided in the cable system's most recent filing in the FCC's
Cable Operations and Licensing System (COALS) Form 322, or emailed to
the system if the system has provided an email address. For all other
MVPDs, the letter must be addressed to the official corporate address
registered with their State of incorporation.

0
4. Section 73.6028 is added to subpart J to read as follows:


Sec. 73.6028 Class A television channel sharing outside the incentive
auction.

(a) Eligibility. Subject to the provisions of this section, Class A
television stations may voluntarily seek Commission approval to share a
single six megahertz channel with other Class A, full power, low power,
or TV translator television stations.
(b) Licensing of channel sharing stations. (1) Each station sharing
a single channel pursuant to this section shall continue to be licensed
and operated separately, have its own call sign, and be separately
subject to all of the Commission's obligations, rules, and policies.
(2) A station relinquishing its channel must file an application
for a construction permit, include a copy of the Channel Sharing
Agreement (CSA) as an exhibit, and cross reference the other sharing
station(s). Any engineering changes necessitated by the CSA may be
included in the station's application. Upon initiation of shared
operations, the station relinquishing its channel must notify the
Commission that it has terminated operation pursuant to Sec. 73.1750
and each sharing station must file an application for license.
(c) Channel sharing between Class A television stations and full
power, low power television, and TV translator stations. (1) A Class A
television sharee station (defined as a station relinquishing a channel
in order to share) that is a party to a CSA with a full power
television sharer station (defined as the station hosting a sharee
pursuant to a CSA) must comply with the rules of this part governing
power levels and interference, and must comply in all other respects
with the rules and policies applicable to Class A television stations,
as set forth in Sec. Sec. 73.6000 through 73.6027.
(2) A Class A television sharee station that is a party to a CSA
with a low power television or TV translator sharer station must comply
with the rules of part 74 of this chapter governing power levels and
interference that are applicable to low power television or TV
translator stations, and must comply in all other respects with the
rules and policies applicable to Class A television stations, as set
forth in Sec. Sec. 73.6000 through 73.6027.
(d) Deadline for implementing CSAs. CSAs submitted pursuant to this
section must be implemented within three years of the grant of the
initial channel sharing construction permit.
(e) Channel sharing agreements (CSAs). (1) CSAs submitted under
this section must contain provisions outlining each licensee's rights
and responsibilities regarding:
(i) Access to facilities, including whether each licensee will have
unrestrained access to the shared transmission facilities;
(ii) Allocation of bandwidth within the shared channel;
(iii) Operation, maintenance, repair, and modification of
facilities, including

[[Page 18251]]

a list of all relevant equipment, a description of each party's
financial obligations, and any relevant notice provisions;
(iv) Transfer/assignment of a shared license, including the ability
of a new licensee to assume the existing CSA; and
(v) Termination of the license of a party to the CSA, including
reversion of spectrum usage rights to the remaining parties to the CSA.
(2) CSAs must include provisions:
(i) Affirming compliance with the channel sharing requirements in
this section and all relevant Commission rules and policies; and
(ii) Requiring that each channel sharing licensee shall retain
spectrum usage rights adequate to ensure a sufficient amount of the
shared channel capacity to allow it to provide at least one Standard
Definition program stream at all times.
(f) Termination and assignment/transfer of shared channel. (1) Upon
termination of the license of a party to a CSA, the spectrum usage
rights covered by that license may revert to the remaining parties to
the CSA. Such reversion shall be governed by the terms of the CSA in
accordance with paragraph (e)(1)(v) of this section. If upon
termination of the license of a party to a CSA only one party to the
CSA remains, the remaining licensee may file an application for license
to change its status to non-shared.
(2) If the rights under a CSA are transferred or assigned, the
assignee or the transferee must comply with the terms of the CSA in
accordance with paragraph (e)(1)(iv) of this section. If the transferee
or assignee and the licensees of the remaining channel sharing station
or stations agree to amend the terms of the existing CSA, the agreement
may be amended, subject to Commission approval.
(g) Notice to cable systems. (1) Stations participating in channel
sharing agreements must provide notice to cable systems that:
(i) No longer will be required to carry the station because of the
relocation of the station;
(ii) Currently carry and will continue to be obligated to carry a
station that will change channels; or
(iii) Will become obligated to carry the station due to a channel
sharing relocation.
(2) The notice required by this section must contain the following
information:
(i) Date and time of any channel changes;
(ii) The channel occupied by the station before and after
implementation of the CSA;
(iii) Modification, if any, to antenna position, location, or power
levels;
(iv) Stream identification information; and
(v) Engineering staff contact information.
(3) Should any of the information in paragraph (g)(2) of this
section change, an amended notification must be sent.
(4) Sharee stations must provide notice as required by this section
at least 90 days prior to terminating operations on the sharee's
channel. Sharer stations and sharee stations must provide notice as
required by this section at least 90 days prior to initiation of
operations on the sharer channel. Should the anticipated date to either
cease operations or commence channel sharing operations change, the
stations must send a further notice to affected cable systems informing
them of the new anticipated date(s).
(5) Notifications provided to cable systems pursuant to this
section must be either mailed to the system's official address of
record provided in the cable system's most recent filing in the FCC's
Cable Operations and Licensing System (COALS) Form 322, or emailed to
the system if the system has provided an email address.

PART 74--EXPERIMENTAL RADIO, AUXILIARY, SPECIAL BROADCAST AND OTHER
PROGRAM DISTRIBUTIONAL SERVICES

0
5. The authority citation for part 74 continues to read as follows:

Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 302a, 303, 307, 309, 336 and 554.

0
6. Section 74.800 is redesignated as Sec. 74.799, and amended by
revising paragraph (a)(1) and adding paragraphs (g) and (h) to read as
follows:


Sec. 74.799 Low power television and TV translator channel sharing.

(a) * * *
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, low power television
and TV translator stations may voluntarily seek Commission approval to
share a single six megahertz channel with other low power television
and TV translator stations, Class A television stations, and full power
television stations.
* * * * *
(g) Channel sharing between low power television or TV translator
stations and Class A television stations or full power television
stations. (1) A low power television or TV translator sharee station
(defined as a station relinquishing a channel in order to share) that
is a party to a CSA with a full power television sharer station
(defined as the station hosting a sharee pursuant to a CSA) must comply
with the rules of part 73 of this chapter governing power levels and
interference, and must comply in all other respects with the rules and
policies applicable to low power television or TV translator stations
set forth in this part.
(2) A low power television or TV translator sharee station that is
a party to a CSA with a Class A television sharer station must comply
with the rules governing power levels and interference that are
applicable to Class A television stations, and must comply in all other
respects with the rules and policies applicable to low power television
or TV translator stations set forth in this part.
(h) Notice to cable systems. (1) Stations participating in channel
sharing agreements must provide notice to cable systems that:
(i) No longer will be required to carry the station because of the
relocation of the station;
(ii) Currently carry and will continue to be obligated to carry a
station that will change channels; or
(iii) Will become obligated to carry the station due to a channel
sharing relocation.
(2) The notice required by this section must contain the following
information:
(i) Date and time of any channel changes;
(ii) The channel occupied by the station before and after
implementation of the CSA;
(iii) Modification, if any, to antenna position, location, or power
levels;
(iv) Stream identification information; and
(v) Engineering staff contact information.
(3) Should any of the information in paragraph (h)(2) of this
section change, an amended notification must be sent.
(4) Sharee stations must provide notice as required by this section
at least 90 days prior to terminating operations on the sharee's
channel. Sharer stations and sharee stations must provide notice as
required by this section at least 90 days prior to initiation of
operations on the sharer channel. Should the anticipated date to either
cease operations or commence channel sharing operations change, the
stations must send a further notice to affected cable systems informing
them of the new anticipated date(s).
(5) Notifications provided to cable systems pursuant to this
section must be either mailed to the system's official address of
record provided in the cable system's most recent filing in the FCC's
Cable Operations and Licensing System (COALS) Form 322, or emailed to
the

[[Page 18252]]

system if the system has provided an email address.

[FR Doc. 2017-07171 Filed 4-17-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P



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