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Martin Pitches New DTV Translator Plan - TvTechnology

Martin Pitches New DTV Translator Plan

The proposal is on the FCC agenda for its Dec. 18 meeting as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
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FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said he has a plan for a new DTV translator service to help broadcasters fill in dark areas in the old analog coverage where receivers are not picking up DTV signals. It’s not clear how many broadcasters will want to install new transmission facilities beyond those already required by the DTV transition, but the new regime would add to the tools broadcasters can use to avoid losing viewers.

Broadcasters already won new rules Nov. 4 for Distributed Transmission Systems (DTS), which employ multiple transmitters on the same frequency. They also already use thousands of translator towers, which are not required to cease analog transmission next February.

The proposal is on the FCC agenda for its Dec. 18 meeting as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. If the commissioners approve, it would invite comment on the issues.

Martin said the proposal would ensure broadcasters have every opportunity to reach all their analog viewers who might be missed by the new DTV signals.

He did not address whether the new system for translator licensing might also be used with broadcasters for purposes beyond just sending out DTV to home viewers—mobile DTV, for example, which would benefit from more DTV transmitters, not to mention the powers of incumbency that could may arise as white space devices start to seek unused airspace among the DTV channels.