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Comment Sought on $65 Million for Low-Power Conversion

Low-Power broadcasters are invited to comment on how the government will spend up to $65 million in the next three years on their conversion to DTV.

That’s a lot of money, said Bernadette McGuire-Rivera, associate administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which will dispense the funds.

But, she noted at an NTIA meeting and Webcast Friday (Oct. 24) on the funding program, there are also a lot of Low-Power (2, 150), Class A (528) and translator stations (4,235). “For that reason, it’s very important that we get these rules right,” she said.

The program will provide reimbursements to certain “rural” stations for their digital upgrades. But numerous details remain unclear on what stations, equipment and upgrades would be eligible for the funding.

For example, the legislation behind the funds holds that “rural” stations are those licensed in places other than in communities of 20,000 or more people. That could affect stations in places that serve rural populations but that are based in communities with a population greater than 20,000 people, as one e-mailer from Joplin, Mo., noted during the meeting.

Comments are needed on these and other issues and are due Nov. 14. They can be e-mailed to

The LPTV, Class A, and translator do not have to cease analog in February 2009 with their full-power counterparts and have no deadline yet for DTV deployment.