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Will Broadcasters Meet the Spectrum Repack Deadline?

Vendors say they are prepared, but debates over costs continue

ALEXANDRIA, Va.�The FCC�s �green flag� has been dropped and the great repack race officially underway. Although odds-makers haven�t put a big spotlight on this event, there�s a lot at stake, with some broadcasters facing the prospect of taking their stations dark if there�s even a small amount of trouble on the track and they don�t make the July 2020 �game over� date.

Close to 1,000 U.S. television stations will have some minor�in order for new owners of the broadcast spectrum being vacated to start their wireless network buildouts.

When the FCC first announced the initial timeline, many broadcasters and other industry figures decried it at as woefully inadequate for a project of this magnitude, and one fraught with so many uncertainties. However, the commission continues to hang tough, stating categorically that �after 39 months, no station will be permitted to operate on its pre-auction channel.�

So, what are the various players saying at this point in the great race: will it happen, or not?

Stephen Lockwood, senior engineer at Hatfield & Dawson Consulting Engineers, is optimistic.

�I really think we have a decent chance of meeting the deadline,� he said. �While the FCC may be granting STAs to some stations, I don�t believe that things are going to be as bad as some people have made out.�

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