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FCC advances LPTV, TV translator station transition to digital

The FCC moved June 29 to extend the DTV transition to the low power television and TV translator stations serving rural markets with the announcement that it will begin accepting applications next month for a variety of digital LPTV and TV translator services.

In the public notice, the FCC said it will begin accepting on Aug. 25 applications for:

  • new digital-only LPTV and TV translator stations in rural areas;
  • changes to existing rural analog and digital LPTV and TV translator stations; and
  • digital companion channels for existing analog LPTV stations.

The commission also announced it would begin accepting applications on Jan. 25, 2010, from all LPTV and TV translator stations on a first-come, first-serve basis for new digital-only LPTV and TV translator stations; for major modifications to analog and digital stations in the services; and for digital companion channels.

The application dates do not change the ability of existing LPTV, TV translator or Class A stations to make on-channel flash-cuts to digital TV service at any time. In announcing the dates, the commission encouraged incumbent LPTV, TV translator and Class A stations to file flash-cut applications before the new geographical and first-come, first-serve application filing dates.

The commission also reminded existing LPTV stations that changes may continue to be necessary to optimize delivery of full-power DTV channels, which could have a variety of undesirable effects, including displacement.

In making the announcement, the commission also laid out the procedures those filing applications must follow. The commission also published a list of cities and geographical coordinates those filing rural digital LPTV and TV translator station applications must use in determining the site of their antennas.