Reimbursement Fund

Reimbursement of Relocation Costs

In 2012, Congress mandated that the FCC conduct an incentive auction of broadcast television spectrum as set forth in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 ("Spectrum Act"). The Spectrum Act authorizes the FCC to conduct incentive auctions in which licensees may voluntarily relinquish their spectrum usage rights in order to permit the assignment by auction of new initial licenses subject to flexible use service rules, in exchange for a portion of the resulting auction proceeds.

The Spectrum Act appropriated $1.75 billion to the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund ("Reimbursement Fund") for costs reasonably incurred by Full Power and Class A broadcast television licensees reassigned to new channels ("repack"), as well as Multichannel Video Programming Distributors ("MVPDs") that incurred costs related to continuing to carry the signals of reassigned broadcast stations.

The 2018 Reimbursement Expansion Act ("REA") appropriated $1 billion in additional funds for the Reimbursement Fund ($600 million in FY2018 and $400 million in FY2019) and expanded those entities eligible for reimbursement to Low Power Television Stations ("LPTVs"), television translators ("TV translators"), and FM stations affected by the repack. The REA directs that not more than $150 million is to be used to reimburse LPTV/translator stations and not more than $50 million is to be used to reimburse FM stations. , In implementing the REA the Commission determined that beyond those amounts, reimbursement of full power and Class A stations and MVPD would be prioritized over payment of LPTV/translator, and FM stations. The REA directed that funds for reimbursement are available until July 3, 2023.

 

 

 

Eligibility

LPTV Eligibility

Required Criteria for LPTV Station Eligibility
All criteria must be met

  • Station filed an application during the Commission's Special Displacement Window (April 10, 2018—June 1, 2018).
  • Station obtained construction permit during the Commission's Special Displacement Window (April 10, 2018—June 1, 2018).
  • Station was licensed or had a pending application for license (FCC Form 2100 Schedule D) prior to April 13, 2017.
  • Station was transmitting for at least 9 of 12 months for at least two hours per day, and not less than 28 hours per calendar week between April 12, 2016 and April 13, 2017.
  • Station incurred costs because of the post-incentive auction broadcast transition.
  • Station was not and will not be reimbursed for costs by another entity.

Required Documentation for LPTV Station Eligibility
Submit one or more of the following documents to demonstrate the station meets minimum operating requirement (first 4 strongly preferred)

  • Master control automation system logs (referencing the station)
  • Programming/operating logs, transmission logs (referencing the station)
  • Commercial logs (referencing the station)
  • Program guides (referencing the station and including indication that the programs listed were aired);
  • Tower/facility rental/leasing agreement (specifying site location)
  • Broadcast agreement
  • Third-party affidavits (Examples might include advertisers, content providers, Electronic Program Guide (EPG) services, or, in the case of translators, associated stations. The supplying third party should explicitly affirm the affiant's first-hand knowledge of the station's operations and that it met the minimum operating requirement, describe the affiant's relationship to the station and the basis for his or her knowledge, such as payments made for running advertisements during the required time period, and include a statement that no monetary or other compensation was received in exchange for the affidavit)
  • Electric bills (specifying site location)

*Other documents may be submitted if none of these are available. For more details regarding LPTV/translator stations' eligibility please refer to the LPTV FAQ document or Public Notice.

FM Eligibility

Required Criteria for FM Station Eligibility
All criteria must be met

  • Station certifies that it was licensed and transmitting as of April 13, 2017
  • Station certifies that it was using a repacked television station's facility as April 13, 2017
  • Station was not and will not be reimbursed for costs by another entity
  • Station incurred costs because they had to:
    • Temporarily or permanently relocate;
    • Modify their facilities; and/or
    • Purchase equipment to provide services during the time-period in which construction took place at an adjacent or nearby repacked television station

Required Documentation for FM Station Eligibility
All documentation must be provided by FM Stations requesting reimbursement for construction or modification of auxiliary facilities

  • Contour maps showing the 60 and 70 dBu contours from the station's main transmission site and auxiliary transmission site for both normal full-power transmission and reduced-power transmission, due to television repacking work.
  • All date(s) and time(s) that broadcast transmissions at the main transmission site are or were required to cease or operate at reduced power as a result of television repacking work at the station's primary facility.
  • All date(s) and time(s) that broadcast transmissions are or will be made from the interim auxiliary facilities constructed or to be constructed using funds from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund.

*For more details regarding FM/translator stations' eligibility refer to the FM FAQ Document and public notice.

Procedures

The deadline for initial filings in the reimbursement program for full power and Class A TV broadcasters and MVPDs was July 2017. Entities filed information regarding their existing broadcasting equipment, their plan to accomplish the channel transition, and estimates of their eligible costs in the Media Bureau's Licensing and Management System (LMS). Estimated costs could be provided by the entity or by using predetermined cost estimates based on the Catalog of Potential Expenses and Eligible Costs (Catalog). The Media Bureau, with assistance from a Fund Administrator, reviewed the cost estimates and made allocations to each entity. To ensure that reimbursement funds are allocated fairly and consistently across all eligible entities and to have sufficient flexibility to maximize the funds available, allocations have been made in tranches. The allocation is available for draw down from the U.S. Treasury as the entities incur expenses and submit invoices that are approved for payment. To facilitate the disbursement of reimbursement payments, entities are also required to submit payment instructions to the Commission in CORES.

The deadline for initial filings in the reimbursement program for FM stations is October 15, 2019 and for LPTV/translator stations is November 14, 2019. The procedures for these entities closely mirror the program for full power and Class A stations, and MVPDs. LPTV/translator and FM stations must file information regarding their existing broadcasting equipment and estimated costs. A Catalog has been provided for these entities. If such stations have already incurred eligible costs they may provide them along with invoices in lieu of estimates.

LPTV/translator and FM stations must also file an Eligibility Certification and supporting documentation. Once review of the submissions is complete, an initial allocation from the REA funds provided specifically for these entities will be made to each eligible LPTV/translator and FM station and will be available for draw down from the U.S. Treasury as expenses are incurred. Additional allocations may be made from the Fund. Entities are also required to submit payment instructions to the Commission in CORES Prior to the end of the reimbursement period, the Media Bureau will issue a final allocation, if appropriate, based on actual documented costs.

Broadcasters

Reimbursement Fund Claims Process for Broadcasters
The following outlines the step-by-step reimbursement process for Broadcasters

  1. Create FCC Registration Number (FRN) Username: Create an FCC Username Account in FCC's Commission Registration System (CORES)
  2. Submit Cost Estimates: Use Form 399 to submit cost estimates in LMS.
  3. Complete From 1876: Download and mail a notarized Form 1876 to the FCC (445 12th St SW, Washington, DC 20554) to provide applicant bank information for direct deposit of reimbursement funds. Log into (CORES) to complete and certify Form 1876 online.
  4. Receive an Allocation: Receive information of allocated amounts from both an FCC PN and individual notice distributed by the FCC.
  5. Submit Invoices and Receive Payment: Submit invoices for expenses incurred using Form 399 in LMS.

    Steps to submission:

    1. Find your cost chart in the "Costs" tab,
    2. Enter your estimates and select "Add" under the "Actual Costs" column to submit components,
    3. Select "Add Component" and input all relevant invoice attachments and metadata information,
    4. Once complete, certify and submit your Form 399.

    See the Form 399 User Guide, Form 399 Tutorial Videos, and the Broadcaster Reimbursement FAQ document for help navigating the Form 399 and submitting invoices

  6. Respond to Request for Information (RFI), as necessary: If more information is required, you will receive an official RFI 2-4 business days after notification of changes to Form 399. Contact the Reimbursement Team by email at reimburse@fcc.gov or phone at (202) 418-2009 to unlock Form 399. Select the edit box and make changes as necessary.
  7. Close Out Your Project When Completed: Submit all remaining eligible expense receipts for the final allocation of funds to be released. Submit all final documentation that contains actual costs for all eligible expenses that were previously reimbursed.

Additional Documentation:

MVPD Stations

Additional Documentation:

LPTV Stations

Reimbursement Fund Claims Process for LPTV Stations
The following outlines the step-by-step reimbursement process for LPTV Stations

  1. FCC Public Notice was released on August 5th , 2019
  2. Submit eligibility certification during the eligibility window: Complete the Eligibility Certification in the Reimbursement Form using the FCC Licensing and Management System (LMS).

    Required Criteria for LPTV Station Eligibility
    All criteria must be met

    • Station filed an application during the Commission's Special Displacement Window and obtained a construction permit.
    • Station were licensed or had an application for license (FCC Form 2100 Schedule D) pending prior to April 13, 2017.
    • Station were transmitting for at least 9 of 12 months for at least two hours per day, and not less than 28 hours per calendar week between April 12, 2016 and April 13, 2017.
    • Station incurred costs as a result of the post-incentive auction broadcast transition of a station reimbursed from the TV Broadcaster Relocation Fund.
    • Station were not reimbursed for costs by another entity.

    Attach all evidentiary or explanatory documentation directly to the Eligibility Certification in LMS.

  3. Submit estimates and incurred expenses: List existing broadcasting equipment and the types of repacking-related costs expected to be incurred or already incurred on Form 399. If actual costs have already been incurred for expenses, utilize the actual cost value as an estimate and provide the actual cost invoice and other relevant documentation in lieu of vendor quotes or other estimate documents. See the Form 399 User Guide and Form 399 Tutorial Videos for help navigating the Form 399 and documenting your estimates and costs.
  4. Receive an allocation: Once review of Eligibility Certifications and cost estimates/costs incurred is complete, receive an initial allocation. View the specific amount allocated by logging in to the Commission Registration System (CORES) Incentive Auction Financial Module and navigating to the Auction Payments component.
  5. Close out your project when complete: Use LMS to submit the Form 399 to notify the Bureau all supporting documentation and requests for reimbursement have been submitted. Receive a financial reconciliation statement that specifies verified, estimated amounts; allocated amounts; amounts requested for reimbursement; and amounts disbursed by the Commission. The final account close-out for each entity will occur no later than July 3, 2023. Receive a final close-out letter.

Additional Documentation:

FM Stations

Reimbursement Fund Claims Process for FM Stations
The following outlines the step-by-step reimbursement process for FM Stations

  1. FCC Public Notice was released on August 5th , 2019
  2. Submit eligibility certification during the eligibility window: Complete the Eligibility Certification in the Reimbursement Form using the FCC Licensing and Management System (LMS).

    Required Criteria for FM Station Eligibility
    All criteria must be met

    • Station certified that they were licensed and transmitting on April 13, 2017* and using a repacked television station's facility.
    • Station incurred costs because they had to temporarily or permanently relocate, modify their facilities, or purchase equipment to provide services during a time period in which construction took place at an adjacent or nearby repacked television station.
    • Station has not been reimbursed for costs by another entity.

    *Attach all evidentiary or explanatory documentation directly to the Eligibility Certification in LMS.

  3. Submit estimates and incurred expenses: List existing broadcasting equipment and the types of repacking-related costs expected to incur on Form 399. If actual costs have already been incurred for expenses, utilize the actual cost value as an estimate and provide the actual cost invoice and other relevant documentation in lieu of vendor quotes or other estimate documents. See the Form 399 User Guide and Form 399 Tutorial Videos for help navigating the Form 399 and documenting your estimates and costs.
  4. Receive an allocation: Once review of Eligibility Certifications and cost estimates/costs incurred is complete, receive an initial allocation. View the specific amount allocated by logging in to the Commission Registration System (CORES) Incentive Auction Financial Module and navigating to the Auction Payments component.
  5. Close out your project when complete: Use LMS to submit the Form 399 to notify the Bureau that all supporting documentation and requests for reimbursement have been submitted. Receive a financial reconciliation statement that specifies verified, estimated amounts; allocated amounts; amounts requested for reimbursement; and amounts disbursed by the Commission. The final account close-out for each entity will occur no later than July 3, 2023. Receive a final close-out letter.

Additional Documentation:

Education & Reference

Tutorial Videos

Reimbursement Form Tutorial Videos

Check back periodically for more videos.

 

Click to play video: Documenting Expenses on Form 399

Click to play video: Documentando Costos en el Formulario 399

Click to play video: Looking up a Cable Operator's Contact Info (Broadcasters)

Click to play video: Launching the Form 399 (MVPDs)

Click to play video: Launching the Form 399 (Broadcasters)

Click to play video: Overview of the Form 399 (MVPDs)

Click to play video: Overview of the Form 399 (Broadcasters)

Click to play video: Completing Sections of Form 399 (MVPDs)

 

Questions?  Contact the Reimbursement Team by e-mail at reimburse@fcc.gov, or phone at (202) 418-2009.