Class A, LPTV, translator stations should make on-channel digital transition, says NAB, MSTV

The FCC should not assign additional channels to Class A, low-power or translator stations during the transition to digital service, but rather require them to make an on-channel switch from analog to digital service, according to comments filed with the FCC Nov. 25 by the NAB and MSTV.

The associations' comments were in response to a Commission Notice of Inquiry into how to deal with low-power, booster and translator television stations during the transition to digital service. (See the Oct. 15, 2003 edition of RF Update.)

“As a general matter,” the associations' comments said, “the FCC should not assign additional digital channels to Class A, LPTV and translator stations during the transition.

“This will avoid disrupting the transition of full-power service while also allowing other services to become part of the digital environment. Striking this balance will ensure that the digital transition proceeds in a way that benefits both broadcasters and the public they serve.”

The Commission should not engage in rulemaking to authorize second channels for Class A, LPTV and translator stations because doing so would “represent a step backwards” in the digital transition of full-power stations “by inhibiting the repacking of core broadcast spectrum and causing interference to the digital service provided by full-power broadcasters,” the filing said.

In the comments, the associations urged the FCC to allow Class A, low-power and translator stations to be allowed to make an “on-channel” transition from analog to digital service “if the Commission can develop its interference standards to ensure that appropriate technical specifications are adequate to protect full-power stations.”

The associations also called the technical proposals in the Notice of Inquiry aimed at protecting full-power digital television stations from interference by Class A, low-power and translators “inadequate.” Those proposals “advocate further erosion” of interference protection.

“The Commission should strengthen these protections instead of relaxing them in light of the fact that interference in the digital environment is more objectionable than in the analog environment,” the filing said.

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