FCC Sets Digital Translator Application Filing Date

The FCC's Media Bureau announced this week that beginning Jan. 5, 2009, applications for replacement digital translators will be accepted for filing.
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The FCC's Media Bureau announced this week that beginning Jan. 5, 2009, applications for replacement digital translators will be accepted for filing. This action follows a period of comment on the creation of a new digital translator service for full service television stations.

Stations fearing a loss of service area coverage after the February digital transition may submit applications on FCC Form 346 through the Commission’s Consolidated Database System (CDBS) at fcc.gov/mb/cdbs.html.

Those stations wishing to immediately begin digital translator facility operations may also request a Special Temporary Authority (STA) for operation through the CDBS. (A simultaneous digital translator filing must also be made with the STA).

The processing fee for a digital television translator is $675, and if an STA filing is made, the cost for that is $160.

Applications must include a technical "showing" indicating that a portion of the station's existing analog service area will not have coverage in the post-transition period, and that the replacement digital translator will serve only the demonstrated loss area. The commission also noted that in such cases where stations propose to add digital translators that would expand the station's digital coverage, they must demonstrate that it is impossible to site a translator that replaces a loss area without slightly expanding the existing full-service digital coverage area.

The commission also reminded prospective applicants that new digital translators may not operate on channels 60 through 69. Further, applicants applying for new translator service on channels 52 through 59 must certify the unavailability of any suitable in-core channel for the digital translator service. Also, stations that do apply for DTV translator service on channels 52-59 are required to provide the same notification to wireless licensees that was mandated for LPTV and TV translator stations seeking to flash cut or add a digital companion channel in this portion of the spectrum.