LPTV Digital Transition Comment Period Extended

FCC seeks feedback on what to do with low-power broadcasters
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WASHINGTON—Regulators have extended the feedback deadline on their proposed rules for the final transition of low-power TV broadcasters to digital transmission. LPTVs and translator stations likely will be disrupted, moved or left out of the spectrum after the incentive auction planned for 2016 by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC is proposing, among other things, to open a special filing window for displaced low-power stations.

The new comment deadline is Jan. 12, with replies due Jan. 26, two weeks after the original deadlines.

The comments are in reference to the FCC’s Oct. 10 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing how to handle LPTV and translators after the auction, in which they cannot participate. Neither do low-power stations have interference protection nor guaranteed channel following the auction.

“Accordingly, a significant number of LPTV and TV
translator stations may be displaced as a result of the auction or repacking process and required to find a new channel from the smaller number of channels that will remain in the reorganized spectrum or discontinue operations,” the NPRM states.

The proposed rules would delay the current Sept. 1, 2015, deadline for translators and LPTVs to transition to digital broadcasting. They also address channel-sharing among LPTVs; using the TVStudy software to find them channels; a digital-to-digital replacement service for full-power stations that lose translators; whether or not to allow LPTVs to run a supplementary analog radio-type service; and whether or not to eliminate the analog tuner requirement for TV sets.