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FCC Delays LPTV Filing Window

Due to an early deadline for the Christmas week RF Report and the year-end review in last week's RF Report, I did not have a chance to comment on the FCC Public Notice postponing the nationwide wide window for digital low power TV and TV translator services Public Notice [PDF].

The filing window was scheduled to commence Jan. 25, 2010. The FCC has now postponed the start until July 26, 2010.

The Public Notice said the FCC Media Bureau believed that a postponement of the Jan. 25 date for nationwide licensing was necessary in order to complete the processing of applications that have been filed for rural areas since Aug. 25 last year. It also wanted to provide "interested parties" additional time for preparing applications.

The Bureau added, that "postponement will permit the Commission staff to dedicate additional time and resources for consideration of the Broadband Plan."

If the FCC intends to take spectrum away from broadcasting and sell it to wireless companies, filling in what "white space" remains after the DTV transition with low power DTV and DTV translator stations wouldn't make sense. It also wouldn't make sense to allow more low power TV or translators if the FCC is looking at making spectrum available for low power white space or TV band devices. In either case, I wonder if the hidden message is the FCC doesn't see broadcasting as the highest use of this spectrum.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.