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Media Bureau freezes petition filing process for digital channel substitutions

The Federal Communications Commission Media Bureau has frozen petitions for digital channel substitutions effective May 31, according to a public notice posted on the agency’s website.

Following the completion of the DTV transition, some full-power TV broadcasters have petitioned to change channels in an effort to provide viewers with a higher level of service — many from VHF assignments to UHF. According to the notice, following the transition, the Media Bureau completed nearly 100 channel substitutions.

The genesis of the freeze is the National Broadband Plan, which calls for freeing 500MHz of spectrum — 120MHz of which will come from current DTV broadcast spectrum — for wireless broadband Internet service, according to the notice. The commission has launched a rulemaking proceeding to that end.

The freeze on channel changes will give the commission the chance “evaluate its reallocation and repacking proposals and their impact on the Post-Transition Table of DTV Allotments,” the notice said.

The Media Bureau will continue to process rulemaking petitions already on file, it said.