[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 127 (Wednesday, July 2, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 37705-37706]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-15585]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Parts 1, 27, and 73

[GN Docket No. 12-268; ET Docket No. 13-26; DA 14-677]


Incentive Auction Task Force Seeks Comment on Staff Analysis 
Regarding Pairwise Approach To Preserving Population Served

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The FCC's Incentive Auction Task Force (IATF) seeks comment on 
the results of a staff analysis on the potential for new aggregate 
interference in the repacking process and seeks comment on newly 
released repacking constraint data that uses actual channels.

DATES: Comments must be filed on or before July 2, 2014 and reply 
comments must be filed on or before July 22, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by GN Docket No. 12-268 
and ET Docket No. 13-26, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, 
by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. 
Postal Service mail (although the Commission continues to experience 
delays in receiving U.S. Postal Service mail). All filings must be 
addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, 
Federal Communications Commission.
     People With Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language 
interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: 202-418-
0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.
    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan McCormack, Wireless 
Telecommunications Bureau, (202) 418-1065, email: 
jonathan.mccormack@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the FCC's document, GN 
Docket No. 12-268, ET Docket No. 13-26, DA 14-677 released on June 2, 
2014. The full text of this document is available for inspection and 
copying during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Center (Room 
CY-A257), 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. The complete text 
of this document also may be purchased from the Commission's copy 
contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc., 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-
B402, Washington, DC 20554. The full text may also be downloaded at: 
www.fcc.gov.

Summary

    On June 2, 2014, the IATF released a document that published 
updated constraint data based upon actual channels, rather than proxy 
channels, to assist interested parties in conducting their own 
repacking studies. The document also announced the results of a staff 
analysis on the potential for new aggregate interference in the 
repacking process using the Commission's adopted approach to preserving 
population served. This approach limits allowable station assignments 
to those causing 0.5 percent or less new pairwise interference. The 
staff analysis compiled 100 repacking scenario studies and found that 
on average, approximately one percent of all stations received new 
aggregate interference above one percent, and that the vast majority 
received less than the 0.5 percent interference constraint.
    The data and information released are based on preliminary staff 
assumptions necessary for completing the analysis, and are meant to be 
illustrative only. The FCC will adopt final decisions regarding the 
repacking process at a later date. The document and its appendix relate 
only to the repacking process, and specifically to issues commenters 
raised regarding the necessity of an aggregate interference cap and the 
use of proxy channels when preserving coverage area and population 
served. The results of studies in the analysis do not reflect any FCC 
assumptions about auction participation or station valuation.
    A number of commenters supported using a 0.5 percent pairwise limit 
approach for limiting interference in the repacking process, but argued 
that the FCC should impose a cap of one percent on allowable aggregate 
interference for each station to mitigate the risk that an individual 
station in a crowded market could receive significant new interference 
when the permitted pairwise interference from multiple stations is 
added up.
    In response to that argument, FCC staff conducted studies to 
calculate potential aggregate interference using the updated constraint 
files, which are based on actual channels, versus proxy channels. The 
staff analysis shows that approximately one percent of all stations in 
simulated channel reassignments received new interference above a one 
percent cap, and that the majority of stations received new aggregate 
interference well below the pairwise interference limit adopted by the 
FCC. The analysis is presented in detail in the appendix, available at 
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-677A2.pdf. The 
repacking scenarios relate only to the UHF band because the largest 
number of stations that could potentially be assigned a new channel 
will be in this band. The FCC staff is releasing updated constraint 
files based upon actual channels to assist interested parties in 
conducting their own repacking studies. The new constraint files are in 
the same format as those released in July 2013, and can be found on the 
FCC's LEARN Web site under the Repacking Section at: http://fcc.gov/learn. These files are also posted at: http://data.fcc.gov/download/incentive-auctions/Constraint_Files/.
    To generate sufficient data from which to draw meaningful results, 
FCC staff performed 100 simulations using several variations of an 
approach developed for creating simulated sets of stations to be 
repacked. The output of each of these simulations was a set of stations 
that remain on the air in the UHF band, together with the respective 
channel assignments, called a channel plan. Consistent with the FCC's 
adopted approach to preserving population

[[Page 37706]]

served, none of the 100 channel plans involves new pairwise 
interference of greater than 0.5 percent. For each of these 100 channel 
plans, staff examined cell-level data generated by the TVStudy software 
to determine the aggregate interference experienced by each station. 
The results show that across all simulations, on average approximately 
one percent of stations are predicted to receive new aggregate 
interference after channel reassignment above the one percent cap 
proposed by commenters, while the average new aggregate interference 
level was less than 0.2 percent, well below the de minimis constraint 
threshold adopted by the FCC. In none of the results did any station 
receive new aggregate interference above 2 percent. Details about the 
methodology as well as study results can be found in the appendix, 
available at https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-677A2.pdf.
    The analysis pertains only to constraints applied to prevent new 
interference under the approach adopted by the FCC, and does not 
consider any alternatives that stations may have, including the 
opportunity reassigned stations will have to request alternate channels 
or expanded facilities on their newly assigned channels. Similarly, the 
approach used in these studies does not factor in any post-auction 
optimization, which will be run after the completion of bidding in the 
auction. Such optimization could consider additional factors, such as 
minimizing the number of channel reassignments or the estimated costs 
of repacking.
    To assist commenters in designing and running their own 
simulations, FCC staff is releasing information about how it conducted 
the analysis and performed interference calculations. The results are 
not exhaustive. The Incentive Auction Task Force invites parties to 
conduct their own simulations and interference analyses using these 
updated constraint files in conjunction with the publicly available 
TVStudy software.
    The Incentive Auction Task Force seeks comment from interested 
parties on the data and analyses in the document and its appendix. New 
constraint files and all current and subsequent releases relating to 
the Broadcast Incentive Auction will be posted to and available on the 
LEARN Web site at: http://www.fcc.gov/learn.

Federal Communications Commission.
Roger Sherman,
Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2014-15585 Filed 7-1-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P