The long, cold winter is leading to a short, hot summer for broadcasters, manufacturers and tower workers involved in the RF repack as they race to move 987 full-power TV stations to new channels in 10 phases by July 2020 and free up the spectrum auctioned off to wireless operators.
Phase 1 wrapped up in late November with 143 stations moving without much incident. (That total includes a number of additional stations that had received incentive payments from T-Mobile to move early in what was deemed “Phase Zero.”)
But bad weather this winter has been causing problems for tower crews and delaying projects in Phase 2, which involves around 114 stations and is due for completion April 12. And repack insiders fear a more significant backup could occur this summer in the middle phases, when the number of stations increases and testing windows compress.