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FCC Sets Deadlines for SHVERA Waivers

TV stations whose digital signal coverage area is limited due the use of a side-mounted antenna or other factors, may request a waiver of certain FCC signal strength rules. These rules allow satellite subscribers who want to receive distant network DTV signals to use field strength measurements to show they don't have an adequate signal from local network DTV affiliates. Top 100 market network stations that have received a tentative channel designation for DTV or have lost interference protection, must file waiver requests by Nov. 30. All local network stations must file waiver requests by Feb. 15, 2007.

Section 339(a)(2)(D) of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA) states that while waivers may be granted, the requests "must provide clear and convincing evidence that the station's digital signal coverage is limited for one or more reasons." These reasons include:

  • The need for international coordination or approvals, zoning or environmental impediments;
  • Reduction in a station's coverage to avoid interference with emergency response providers;
  • Lack of availability of a local network station's signals via satellite, or
  • Inadequate digital signal coverage due to the use of a side-mounted transmitting antenna.

Satellite subscribers served by a local network station's analog signal, and who are seeking digital service from a distant station with the same network affiliation, may attempt to demonstrate eligibility for the distant signal. Eligibility would be based on a signal test to determine if the off-air digital signal from the local network station meets the digital signal intensity standard in Section 73.683(a) of the rules, according to the commission. Such a test can be requested beginning April 30, 2006. This applies to top 100 market network DTV stations with tentative DTV channel assignments, or for those who have lost interference protection. Eligibility testing for other DTV stations starts July 15, 2007.

For information on how to file a waiver request, refer to the FCC Public Notice TV Station Requests for Waiver of Digital Testing Pursuant to the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004 to be Filed by Nov. 30, 2005 or Feb. 15, 2007 (DA 05-2979).