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New LPTV Station Applications Halted by Broadband Demands

WASHINGTON: The Federal Communications Commission will not accept new applications for low-power digital TV stations and translators until further notice. The commission announced the postponement yesterday, citing the spectrum demands for the Nationwide Broadband Plan. The process was supposed to restart July 26, but has now been suspended indefinitely.

“The Broadband Plan announced an effort to identify 500 megahertz of spectrum that can be reallocated from existing uses to enable the expansion of new mobile broadband service,” the FCC’s notice states. “To aid in this endeavor, the Broadband Plan recommended, among other things, that the commission initiate a rulemaking proceeding to reallocate 120 megahertz from the broadcast television bands, and also to consider methodologies for repacking television channels to increase the efficiency of channel use.”

The FCC said the LPTV and translator application suspension was necessary to evaluate another repacking of the TV band. The nation’s full-power TV stations went through a repacking in the DTV transition, which concluded a year ago.

“Following the conclusion of the commission’s broadband rulemaking proceedings, the Media Bureau will consider an appropriate date for the initiation of nationwide digital licensing,” the FCC notice said.

Existing LPTV, Class A and translator station can apply for digital companion channels starting July 26, the commission said. Applications for new digital-only LPTV and translator facilities in rural areas will continue to be accepted, including those for flash-cutting facilities.
-- Deborah D. McAdams