The FCC is repurposing critical communication spectrums.
Are you ready?

The engineers at Morrison Hershfield have the knowledge and experience to upgrade your towers to the latest specifications.

Fill out the form below to find out how we can assist with your tower upgrade.

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The Repacking Process

Repacking will involve a number of players: tower owners, broadcast companies, tower engineering consultants, field teams, and equipment manufacturers operating in conjunction to plan, analyze, and install the new equipment.

While the outline of the project is simple on the surface, the complexity is compounded by the short timelines and the high costs associated with the critical equipment being upgraded.

Simplified Scope of Work for Broadcasters:

  1. Identify which spectrum is available;
  2. Design RF to meet needs;
  3. Select equipment and antennas;
  4. Verify tower capacity;
  5. Deploy equipment.

While the SoW is straightforward, digging further into the details reveals the timeline sensitivity that the coordinated efforts will require.

Scope of the Repacking Process for all Parties

  • Your station is informed by FCC of the new channel assignment;
  • RF consulting engineer is engaged to plan antenna, transmission line, and RF filter requirements;
  • If the station is leasing space on a tower, the tower lessor must be engaged to determine possible antenna solutions, the need to modify the tower structure to accommodate the new antenna(s), and the impact on other tower tenants;
  • Tower structural engineer is engaged to analyze the current status of the tower and its capability to support a new antenna and a temporary antenna + transmission line (assumes tower is station owned. If the tower is leased, the tower landlord is contacted and the landlord and his approved structural engineer join the process);
  • Antenna supplier is engaged to provide antenna options and pricing;
  • Decision is made to purchase a temporary antenna + transmission line or purchase a standby antenna + transmission line, unless the station already has a standby antenna (>10%);
  • Antenna and RF system planning is completed, allowing RF consultant to prepare technical information for CP application;
  • Transmitter manufacturer and/or RF system installer is engaged to review procedure and pricing to retune the transmitters to a new channel assignment;
  • Tower rigging company is engaged for pricing and schedule for installation;
  • Station engineers finalize budget estimates for repack;
  • Station’s legal representation prepares CP and STA applications and justification for replacement equipment and services required to repack – including a documented budget estimate to the FCC;
  • Wait for FCC to process;
  • FCC issues CP and advanced payment for channel change;
  • Orders placed for a new antenna, transmission line and RF system components (Note: If the station already owns a standby antenna, channelized RF components for that system will also be ordered; if not, the station also orders a temporary antenna and transmission line);
  • Contracts placed with RF systems installer and tower rigging companies;
  • Station files for local zoning or building permits to cover antenna changes;
  • Project schedule is finalized;
  • RF System crew retunes one transmitter to new channel assignment;
  • Tower crew installs temporary or standby antenna + transmission line if required;
  • Station switches operation over to temporary or standby antenna;
  • Tower crew removes main antenna and transmission line;
  • Tower crew installs new main antenna and transmission line;
  • RF system installation crew installs new RF system and tests RF system and new antenna;
  • Station PSIP is updated to reflect new channel assignment;

Timeline

Date Event
November 20, 2015 Pre-Auction Process Tutorial Available
(via Internet)
December 8, 2015 Reverse Auction Application Workshop
December 8, 2015; 12:00 noon ET Auction Application Filing Window Opens
January 12, 2016; 6:00 p.m. ET Auction Application Filing Window Deadline
February 29, 2016 Initial Commitments Tutorial (via Internet)
To Be Announced Bidding and Post-Auction Process Tutorial Available (via Internet)
March 11, 2016; 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. ET Workshop on Making an Initial Commitment
March 24, 2016; 10:00 a.m. ET Initial Commitment Preview Period Opens
March 28, 2016; 10:00 a.m. ET Initial Commitment Window Opens
March 29, 2016; 6:00 p.m. ET Initial Commitment Deadline
Three to four weeks after the initial commitment deadline Initial Clearing Target and Band Plan Announced
Specific date to be provided to each applicant that is qualified to bid by confidential status letter after the initial clearing target is announced Mock Auction(s)
Specific date to be provided to each applicant that is qualified to bid by confidential status letter after the initial clearing target is announced Bidding in the Clock Rounds Begins
Date Event
January 19, 2016 Pre-Auction Process Tutorial Available
January 27, 2016; 12:00 noon ET Auction Application Filing Window Opens
February 10, 2016; 6:00 p.m. ET Auction Application Filing Window Deadline
To Be Announced Bidding and Post-Auction Process Tutorial (via Internet)
Three to four weeks after the initial commitment deadline Initial Clearing Target and Band Plan Announced
By the deadline announced in the Upfront Payments PN; 6:00 p.m. ET Upfront Payments (via wire transfer)
To be announced in the Auction 1002 Qualified Bidders PN Clock and Assignment Phase Mock Auction
To be announced in the Auction 1002 Qualified Bidders PN Clock-Phase Auction Begins

The Repacking Process

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will the FCC repacking affect me?

The repacking will directly impact broadcast networks and affiliates whose channels must be reassigned to new spectrum. If a network’s station shifts to a new channel, their equipment will require upgrades. Broadcast tower owners will be indirectly impacted as their tenants swap out equipment.

2. What do I need to do to have my towers compliant?

Structurally, the tower will need new analysis for the upgraded equipment. Depending on when the last analysis occurred, the tower may be required to have modifications to be in conformance with updated code standards.