FCC Extends Comment Deadline for 7th NPRM on DTV Transition

The FCC has extended its deadline for filing comments on the Seventh Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 06-150) and the proposed DTV Table of Allotments by 14 days to "facilitate the development of a complete record."

In its order (DA 07-38), the commission said that it believes the 14 day extension for the comment and reply period "is warranted to facilitate the development of a complete record. This extension allows parties ample time to develop and provide technical analyses during the comment and reply period, which we hope will reduce the time needed later in this rulemaking process for further adjustments and filings."

The Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers requested a 30-day extension of the deadline, but the FCC declined the request, stating, "It is essential, however, that the industry and commission remain on track to complete this transition by the statutory deadline for the final transition for full power stations from analog to digital television on Feb. 17, 2009."

DTV licensees should use this extension to review the coordinates, effective radiated power and antenna pattern in the proposed table of allotments to confirm they match the technical parameters of their current DTV facility or the DTV facility they intend to construct (as previously certified) at the end of the DTV transition.

Examining some of the entries in the proposed DTV Table, I found that the FCC had truncated, rather than rounded, decimal seconds in the facility location. This could result in location errors close to one second. Ideally, the decimal seconds would be used, but rounding rather than truncating would reduce errors. I also noticed that decimals were dropped from some effective radiated power entries. While this is usually not significant, it is worth checking.

Stations that have modified their DTV facilities since filing their DTV certifications may find the technical parameters in the proposed DTV Table of Allotments do not reflect their current facilities, especially if the license-to-cover application is still pending. Notifying the FCC of these discrepancies now, through the NPRM process, could avoid problems later.

On Monday, the FCC issued a Public Notice with revisions to the proposed new DTV Table of Allotments. This provides tentative channel designations (TCDs) for six permittees that obtained permit status while the channel election process was underway and were not included in the DTV Table released in the 7th NPRM.

A new DTV-only station in Derby, Kan. retains its currently assigned Channel 46. Several NTSC-only stations were given DTV TCDs matching their NTSC assignments: KOHD (Channel 51, Bend, Ore.; WWJX (Channel 51, Jackson, Miss.); KRBK (Channel 49, Osage Beach, Mo.) and the new Channel 27 in Duluth, Minn. A new NTSC station on Channel 22 in Topeka, Kan. was given a TCD on DTV Channel 12, which the FCC indicated was the best available channel. See Appendix A for a list of the new permittees and Appendix B for the proposed Table of Allotments listings with details on power, height above average terrain and location. The area and population served as well as percent interference received are also listed.