FCC Releases Final DTV Channel and Service Area Allotments

August 9, 2007
Early this week, the FCC released the final table of DTV channel allotments. In the Seventh Report and Order and Eighth Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, the FCC acted on requests to modify facilities listed in the previously proposed DTV Allotment table.

FCC DTV allotments for channels before and after the DTV transition contain information on power level, antenna location, antenna height, antenna pattern, service area, population served and interference received. Even if the channel remains the same, a change in any of these parameters affects a station’s protection from interference and ultimate coverage. Many of the changes to the proposed DTV Allotment Table involved coverage area and allowed interference to other stations. In most cases, the FCC agreed to modify the DTV Table of Allotments to reflect licensed facilities already on the air even if they caused more than 0.1 percent new interference to other stations but denied requests for modification of the Table if the DTV station had not been constructed.

"In circumstances where commenters requested changes prematurely or requested changes that should properly be considered in connection with an application for a construction permit or modification of construction permit to build a facility identified in the new Table, we deny the request to change the DTV Table and/or Appendix B and direct that these requests be filed following adoption of this Report and Order and the Report and Order in the Third DTV Periodic Review proceeding," the FCC said.

In the proposed DTV Table of Allotments, coordinates of stations that specified their location in tenths of seconds had tenths of seconds truncated rather than rounded, causing up to a 0.9 second error in the location. In other cases, the coordinates in the proposed Table did not match those on the tower Antenna Structure Registration (ASR). When the corrected coordinates were within 3 seconds of the coordinates in the proposed Table, the FCC included the requested corrections in the final Table. The FCC denied requests to specify antenna coordinates to a tenth of second, noting a tenth of second was equivalent to approximately 10 feet, but accepted specific requests for rounding rather than truncating tenths of seconds in the final Table.

Due to antenna construction, antennas that are considered omnidirectional may have small variations in relative field in their azimuth pattern. The FCC denied a request to include an antenna identification number for omnidirectional antennas, noting that when an omnidirectional antenna is specified, it means the antenna has the same power level in every azimuthal direction. Antenna identification numbers are only used for directional antennas. The FCC said it would not include antenna identification numbers when its database indicates the station is authorized for an omnidirectional antenna.

Several stations requested changes in the Table to reflect facilities that better matched their analog Grade B coverage or changes made during the channel election process. Other stations’ post-transition facilities required international coordination. Refer to the Seventh Report and Order and Eighth Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making for details on specific station requests.

With one exception, the FCC denied proposals requesting changes to the Table that required a waiver of the filing freeze. The exception was WLAE-DT, in New Orleans, LA. WLAE-DT had an authorization for maximized facilities at the time the certifications were filed, but its facilities were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Two stations, WDCP-TV and WFUP, decided to return their DTV allotments and go silent when analog is shut off. WFUP is a satellite station of WFUX-TV. WFUP’s community of license, Vanderbilt, MI, will be served by the DTV signal from WFUX-DT.

The proposed rule making section of Seventh Report and Order and Eighth Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FNPRM) solicits comments on new permittee tentative DTV channel designations (TCDs) and requests for substantial modifications to the Table or Appendix B submitted after the close of the comment period in the Seventh Further Notice rulemaking. The FCC indicated comments should address only the stations specified in the Eighth FNPRM. It will not entertain proposals for additional modifications to the Table or Appendix B.

A spreadsheet containing the new DTV Table of Allotments is available on the FCC Media Bureau Web site. I will also post a version in the near future on my much outdated www.transmitter.com Web site. The transmitter.com Web site has an archive of previously proposed DTV allotment tables going back to the original MSTV proposal with 5,000 kW ERP DTV facilities.

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