FCC Establishes Rules for Digital LPTV

September 10, 2004
Some 6,800 low-power and translator TV stations were finally invited to the digital transition. The FCC has established rules for moving these operations into the digital realm, although no deadline for doing so was defined.

Existing LPTVs and translators have the option to flash-cut on current channels, with applications accepted on a first-come, first serve basis. Mutually exclusive applicants will be resolved by auction. Class A stations (LPTVs that qualify for interference protection) will be allowed to file for a second channel, during a yet-to-be determined period.

Like their full-power brethren, LPTVs and translator digital operations will be designated on Channels 2-51 (except Channel 37). Existing LPTVs and translators on channels 52-69 may flash-cut to digital operations. Otherwise, the use of channels 52-59 for digital secondary channels is limited to stations that can certify the unavailability of anything in 2-51; no secondary channels will be permitted in 60-69.

The final transition date of these stations will be considered in the Commission's Third DTV periodic review proceeding, (the second review having just recently been completed.)

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