The Federal Communications Commission’s Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau granted a request from 20 broadcast TV stations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands impacted by Hurricanes Irma and María to allow them to construct post-auction facilities ahead of schedule.
“The Commission has made it a top priority to assist with the recovery from last year’s devastating hurricanes,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. “Today, we’re taking another important step to expedite the restoration of vital communications services.”
“Before today, many broadcast television stations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were facing
a choice between two bad options: either remain dark for months or years to come, or restore service on
their pre-auction channel, only to have to rebuild their broadcast facility again in a year or two,” he said.
Now, stations are no longer confronting that choice because they’ll be able to use their post-auction channel more quickly. Moreover, affected stations will now be able to access the TV Broadcaster Reimbursement Fund to cover portions of their recovery costs attributable to the post-incentive auction channel reassignment.
“The bottom line is that residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be able to access
emergency communications and other valuable broadcast content sooner as a result of this decision. I’m
grateful to the Incentive Auction Task Force and the Media Bureau for working with these stations on a
creative solution,” Pai said.