Mission impossible: The 39-month incentive auction repack timeline is likely too short

I became slightly nauseated just watching a video of an ascent to the top of a 1,400-foot broadcast tower, so I'd imagine the real thing could induce a panic attack. Yet there are still tower crews in the U.S. brave enough to take on the channel repacking work that will follow the FCC's upcoming 600 MHz incentive auctions.

Problem is there doesn't seem to be enough qualified crews to finish the work within the 39 months the FCC has allocated for the transition. If less-qualified crews, trained for work on smaller cellular towers, pick up the slack, it could mean an uptick in serious safety issues and accidents.

On top of all that, TV antenna manufacturers are in short supply, leading the tall tower industry to predict the work will take closer to five to seven years to complete.

But for the crews and vendors up to the task, the incentive auction channel repack could be an opportunity the likes of which the broadcast tower industry hasn't seen since the digital TV transition in 2009. Before the FCC and countless other interested parties undertakes the complicated incentive auctions and all the work that endeavor will require, check out the latest special report here.

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