Doug Lung / RF Report
ATBA Petitions for ‘Blanket Extension’ or Waiver of New LPTV Construction Deadlines
Says creation of new facilities ‘makes no sense’ until after repacking
Analog LPTV stations and translators with flash-cut and digital companion channel construction permits must convert to digital by Sept. 1, 2015. The cutover deadline for new LPTV stations is three years after their permit was issued. Earlier this year (Feb. 20, 2014), the FCC Media Bureau issued a Public Notice requesting comment on a Petition for Blanket Extension or Waiver filed by the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance (ATBA), an organization that represents hundreds of low-power and full-power TV broadcasters, owners and operators of translators, and allied industry organizations and companies.
In its filing, the ATBA seeks an extension or waiver of the construction deadline until Sept. 1, 2015, for all permittees authorized to construct new digital LPTV stations. The organization pointed out that: "The Commission has acknowledged consistently that requiring LPTV licensees to construct facilities that may be eliminated in repacking after the broadcast spectrum auction and repacking proceeding (the 'Incentive Auction Proceeding') makes no sense."
In support of the blanket extension or waiver, the ATBA stated: "…though the Commission has not granted a blanket waiver with respect to permits for new digital LPTV facilities, the Media Bureau, under the Commission’s direction, has granted more than 650 six-month construction deadline extensions on a "case-by-case" basis. Between now and the Sept. 1, 2015 date, LPTV permittees will file, and the FCC will certainly grant, hundreds and perhaps thousands more case-by-case extension applications.
The ATBA asked the FCC to grant a blanket extension of the construction deadline for new digital LPTV construction permits "until the same Sept. 1, 2015 date that already applies to other LPTV permits, thereby eliminating hundreds or thousands of hours of rote paperwork for permittees and FCC staff."
It noted that the "continued uncertainty and risk associated with the Incentive Auction Proceeding, including the recently announced delay of the auction until mid-2015" justified the granting of the group’s petition."
Comments are due Aug. 14, 2014 with a reply comment deadline of Aug. 28, 2014.