FCC Freezes LPTV Applications to Plan Channel Repack

WASHINGTON: The Federal Communications Commission is freezing applications for new digital low-power and TV translator stations in anticipation of repacking TV channels for a national broadband network. The freeze includes major changes to existing facilities in rural areas, and is effective immediately.

The commission suspended non-rural LPTV and translator apps indefinitely in June. It’s doing so as it prepares to propose the reallocation of 120 MHz of broadcast TV spectrum for wireless broadband, “and also to consider methodologies for repacking full-power television channels to increase the efficiency of channel use.”

“To permit the commission to evaluate its reallocation and repacking proposals and their impact on future licensing of low power television facilities, the Media Bureau deems it appropriate to freeze the acceptance of additional applications for new digital LPTV and TV translator facilities, as well as applications for major changes to existing analog and digital LPTV and TV translator facilities, in rural areas,” the Bureau’s notice stated.

The FCC opened an application window Aug. 25, allowing sufficient time for anyone interested in building a rural LPTV or translator station, it said. After rules are established for the National Broadband Plan, the Media Bureau will consider accepting new facility applications once again. Applications by existing stations for flash cutting and digital companion channels are still being accepted. Displacement applications where full-power station interference is demonstrated, and for operations in Chs. 52 through 69 will also continue to be accepted.

LPTVs and translators are not yet subject to a digital transition deadline. The FCC last month proposed to set one in mid-2012.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

Oct. 5, 2010
: “Feds Disperse $35 Million for LPTV Digital Transition”
The federal government has distributed $35 million for transitioning low-power TV stations and translators to digital technology. A total of $44 million was allocated in May, 2009, for helping LPTV and translator stations upgrade their operations. 

Sept. 20, 2010: “FCC Tees Up LPTVs for Digital Transition”
The ruling would affect more than 2,450 low-power TV stations, 520 Class A stations (LPTVs with interference protection), and around 4,500 licensed translators serving mostly rural areas.