FCC Adopts NPRM to Complete DTV Transition

April 27, 2007
In an open commission meeting Wednesday, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, beginning the long awaited Third Review of the DTV Transition. Although the full text of the NPRM was not given at the meeting, a release issued late Wednesday night listed six proposals in the NPRM:

• Restrict the grant of future extensions of time to construct digital facilities;
• Offer expedited processing to stations applying for a construction permit post-transition channel based on the new DTV Table of Allotments;
• Examine the circumstances in which stations may reduce or terminate analog service to facilitate construction of post-transition facilities;
• Permit stations that have different pre-transition and post-transition channels to devote their resources to building their post-transition channel;
• Require stations by Dec. 1, 2007 to file a form with the commission detailing the current status of the station's digital transition, the additional steps the station must take before the transition deadline, and a plan for how the station intends to meet the deadline;
• Establish Feb. 17, 2009 as the construction deadline for stations with new channel allotments in the upcoming new DTV Table of Allotments.

Missing from the release was any mention of procedures for filing and processing applications for DTV facilities other than those based on the new DTV Table of Allotments, such as applications to modify the DTV antenna pattern or increase power in situations where a station's original DTV coverage was limited to protect analog TV stations that will not exist after Feb. 17, 2009. It also does not state whether the construction deadline will require stations to build out their full-allotted facilities by Feb. 17, 2009. This could pose problems for stations moving to a DTV channel or antenna pattern that doesn't match their existing analog or DTV channel or pattern with an antenna at the same height as their current antenna(s).

Look for more information on the NPRM in RF Report after the text of the NPRM is released.

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