Transition Progress Report Form and Filing Requirements for Stations Eligible for Reimbursement From the TV Broadcast Relocation Fund


Published: 2017-02-02

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Federal Register, Volume 82 Issue 21 (Thursday, February 2, 2017)


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 21 (Thursday, February 2, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 9009-9011]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-02218]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 73

[MB Docket No. 16-306, GN Docket No. 12-268; DA 17-34]


Transition Progress Report Form and Filing Requirements for
Stations Eligible for Reimbursement From the TV Broadcast Relocation
Fund

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission
(Commission) describes the information that must be provided in
periodic progress reports (FCC Form 2100--Schedule 387 (Transition
Progress Report)) by full power and Class A television stations that
are eligible to receive payment of relocation expenses from the TV
Broadcast Relocation Fund in connection with their being assigned to a
new channel through the Incentive Auction. The Commission previously
determined that reimbursable stations must file reports showing how the
disbursed funds have been spent and what portion of the stations'
construction in complete. These Transition Progress Reports will help
the Commission, broadcasters, those involved in construction of
broadcast facilities, other interested parties, and the public to
assess how disbursed funds have been spent and to monitor the
construction of stations.

DATES: Effective February 2, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW.,
Washington, DC 20554.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joyce Bernstein,
Joyce.Bernstein@fcc.gov, (202) 418-1647, or Kevin Harding,
Kevin.Harding@fcc.gov, (202) 418-7077.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's
document, DA 17-34, MB Docket No. 16-306, GN Docket No. 12-268,
released January 10, 2017. The complete text of this document is
available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in
the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW.,
Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The complete text of this document
is also available for download at http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0110/DA-17-34A1.pdf.

Synopsis

The Media Bureau (Bureau) announces that each full power and Class
A television station that is eligible for reimbursement of its
relocation costs from the TV Broadcast Relocation Fund established by
the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 must
periodically file an FCC Form 2100--Schedule 387 (Transition Progress
Report) that is attached as Appendix A to the Public Notice. The
appendix is available at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-17-34A1.docx. Reimbursable stations must file Transition Progress
Reports using the Commission's electronic filing system starting with
first full calendar quarter after completion of the Incentive Auction
and on a quarterly basis thereafter. In addition to these quarterly
reports, reimbursable stations must file the reports: (1) 10 weeks
before the end of their assigned construction deadline; (2) 10 days
after they complete all work related to construction of their post-
auction facilities; and (3) five days after they cease broadcasting on
their pre-auction channel. Once a station has filed Transition Progress
Reports certifying that it has completed all work related to
construction of its post-auction facilities and has ceased operating on
its pre-auction channel, it will no longer be required to file reports.
In the Incentive Auction R&O, the Federal Communications Commission
(Commission) adopted rules and procedures for conducting the broadcast
television incentive auction. See Expanding the Economic and Innovation
Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions, GN Docket No. 12-
268, Report and Order, 79 FR 48442, August 15, 2014. The incentive
auction is composed of a reverse auction in which broadcasters offer to
voluntarily relinquish some or all of their spectrum usage rights, and
a forward auction of new, flexible-use licenses suitable for providing
mobile broadband services. The reverse auction incorporates a repacking
process to reorganize the broadcast television bands so that the
television stations that remain on the air after the transition will
occupy a smaller portion of the ultra-high frequency (UHF) band,
thereby clearing contiguous spectrum that will be repurposed as the 600
MHz

[[Page 9010]]

Band for flexible wireless use. After bidding concludes, the Media and
Wireless Telecommunications Bureaus will release the Closing and
Reassignment Public Notice which, among other things, will announce the
results of the repacking process and identify the channel reassignments
of television channels. The Closing and Reassignment Public Notice will
also establish the beginning of the 39-month post-auction transition
period (transition period). By the end of the transition period, all
stations reassigned to new channels must complete construction of their
post-auction channel facilities, commence operation on their post-
auction channel, cease operation on their pre-auction channel, and file
a license application.
Most stations that incur costs as a result of being reassigned to
new channels will be eligible for reimbursement from the Reimbursement
Fund. In the Incentive Auction R&O, the Commission determined that
reimbursable stations will be required, on a regular basis, to provide
progress reports to the Commission showing how the disbursed funds have
been spent and what portion of their construction is complete, and
directed the Media Bureau to develop a form for such progress reports
and set filing deadlines. The Media Bureau's Public Notice describes
the information that must be provided in the Transition Progress
Reports, and when and how the progress reports must be filed. The
Transition Progress Report requires reimbursable stations to certify
that certain steps towards construction of their post-auction
facilities either have been completed or are not required. Some
questions/items are meant to gather information regarding stations'
completion of tasks necessary to meet major expenditure and
construction milestones, such as taking delivery of specific pieces of
equipment or completing all necessary permitting and tower work. Other
questions require broadcasters to identify potential problems which
they believe may make it difficult for them to meet their construction
deadlines. These Transition Progress Reports will help the Commission,
broadcasters, those involved in the construction of broadcast
facilities, and other interested parties to assess how disbursed funds
have been spent and to monitor the construction of stations.
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.
The Commission will send a copy of the document, DA 17-34, in a
report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office
pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis: As required by the
Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (``RFA'') the Commission
has prepared this Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (``IRFA'')
concerning the possible significant economic impact on small entities
of the policies and rules proposed in the Public Notice (Progress
Report Form PN). Written public comments are requested on this IRFA.
Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed
by the deadlines for comments provided on the first page of the
Progress Report Form PN. The Commission will send a copy of the
Progress Report Form PN, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for
Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (``SBA''). In addition,
the Progress Report Form PN and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be
published in the Federal Register.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (``RFA''),
requires that a regulatory flexibility analysis be prepared for notice
and comment rule making proceedings, unless the agency certifies that
``the rule will not, if promulgated, have a significant economic impact
on a substantial number of small entities.'' The RFA generally defines
the term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the terms
``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small governmental
jurisdiction.'' In addition, the term ``small business'' has the same
meaning as the term ``small business concern'' under the Small Business
Act. A ``small business concern'' is one which: (1) Is independently
owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and
(3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business
Administration (SBA).

A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rule Changes

The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) adopted a 39-
month transition period during which television stations that are
assigned to new channels in the incentive auction must construct their
new facilities. The Commission determined that reassigned television
stations that are eligible for reimbursement from the TV Broadcast
Relocation Fund are required, on a regular basis, to provide progress
reports to the Commission showing how the disbursed funds have been
spent and what portion of construction is complete. The Commission
directed the Media Bureau (Bureau) to develop a form for such progress
reports and set the filing deadlines for such reports. The Progress
Report Form PN describes the information that must be provided by these
stations, and when and how the progress reports must be filed.
The Bureau proposes to require that reassigned television stations
that are not eligible for reimbursement from the TV Broadcast
Relocation Fund provide the same progress reports to the Commission on
the same schedule as that specified for stations eligible for
reimbursement. The Transition Progress Report in Appendix A requires
reassigned stations to certify that certain steps toward construction
of their post-auction channel either have been completed or are not
required, and to identify potential problems which they believe may
make it difficult for them to meet their construction deadlines. The
information in the progress reports will be used by the Commission,
stations, and other interested parties to monitor the status of
reassigned stations' construction during the 39-month transition
period.

B. Legal Basis

The proposed action is authorized pursuant to sections 1, 4, 301,
303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, and 403 of the Communications Act of
1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154, 301, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310,
316, 319, and 403.

C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which
the Proposed 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 RFA generally defines
the term ``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the terms
``small business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small governmental
jurisdiction.'' In addition, the term ``small business'' has the same
meaning as the term ``small business concern'' under the Small Business
Act. A small business concern is one which: (1) Is independently owned
and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3)
satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA. Below, we

[[Page 9011]]

provide a description of such small entities, as well as an estimate of
the number of such small entities, where feasible.
Television Broadcasting. This economic census category ``comprises
establishments primarily engaged in broadcasting images together with
sound.'' The SBA has created the following small business size standard
for such businesses: Those having $38.5 million or less in annual
receipts. The 2007 U.S. Census indicates that 808 firms in this
category operated in that year. Of that number, 709 had annual receipts
of $25,000,000 or less, and 99 had annual receipts of more than
$25,000,000. Because the Census has no additional classifications that
could serve as a basis for determining the number of stations whose
receipts exceeded $38.5 million in that year, we conclude that the
majority of television broadcast stations were small under the
applicable SBA size standard.
Apart from the U.S. Census, the Commission has estimated the number
of licensed commercial television stations to be 1,386 stations. Of
this total, 1,221 stations (or about 88 percent) had revenues of $38.5
million or less, according to Commission staff review of the BIA Kelsey
Inc. Media Access Pro Television Database (BIA) on July 2, 2014. In
addition, the Commission has estimated the number of licensed
noncommercial educational (NCE) television stations to be 395. NCE
stations are non-profit, and therefore considered to be small entities.
Therefore, we estimate that the majority of television broadcast
stations are small entities.
We note, however, that in assessing whether a business concern
qualifies as small under the above definition, business (control)
affiliations must be included. Our estimate, therefore, likely
overstates the number of small entities that might be affected by our
action because the revenue figure on which it is based does not include
or aggregate revenues from affiliated companies. In addition, an
element of the definition of ``small business'' is that the entity not
be dominant in its field of operation. We are unable at this time to
define or quantify the criteria that would establish whether a specific
television station is dominant in its field of operation. Accordingly,
the estimate of small businesses to which rules may apply does not
exclude any television station from the definition of a small business
on this basis and is therefore possibly over-inclusive to that extent.
Class A TV Stations. The same SBA definition that applies to
television broadcast stations would apply to licensees of Class A
television stations. As noted above, the SBA has created the following
small business size standard for this category: Those having $38.5
million or less in annual receipts. The Commission has estimated the
number of licensed Class A television stations to be 418. Given the
nature of these services, we will presume that these licensees qualify
as small entities under the SBA definition.

D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other
Compliance Requirements

The Bureau proposes that reassigned stations that are not eligible
for reimbursement file the Transition Progress Report in Appendix A on
a quarterly basis, beginning for the first full quarter after the
release of a public notice announcing the completion of the incentive
auction, as well as 10 weeks before their construction deadline, 10
days after they complete construction of their post-auction facility,
and five days after they cease broadcasting on their pre-auction
channel. Once a station has ceased operating on its pre-auction
channel, it would no longer need to file reports. We seek comment on
the possible burdens the reporting requirement would place on small
entities. Entities, especially small businesses, are encouraged to
quantify, if possible, the costs and benefits of the proposed reporting
requirement.

E. 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, standard; and (4) an
exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small
entities.
In general, alternatives to proposed rules or policies are
discussed only when those rules pose a significant adverse economic
impact on small entities. We believe the burdens of the proposed
reporting requirement are minimal and, in any event, are outweighed by
the potential benefits of allowing for monitoring of the post-auction
transition. In particular, the intent is to allow the Commission,
broadcasters, and other interested parties to more closely monitor that
status of construction during the transition, and focus resources on
ensuring successful completion of the transition by all reassigned
stations and continuity of over-the-air television service. Although
the proposal to require reassigned stations that are not eligible for
reimbursement to file regular progress reports during the transition
may impose additional burdens on these stations, we believe the
benefits of the proposal (such as further facilitating the successful
post-incentive auction transition) outweigh any burdens associated with
compliance

F. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the
Proposed Rule

None.

Federal Communications Commission.
Thomas Horan,
Chief, Media Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2017-02218 Filed 2-1-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P



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