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Public TV hurt by FCC's spectrum favoritism to corporate broadcasters

The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) is condemning the FCC’s new procedures that prohibit non-commercial broadcasters from seeking licenses on commercial spectrum if corporate-owned broadcasters seek the same frequencies.

Public television advocates also decried the FCC's order that public stations must bid against commercial applicants for low-power translators that are important to signal coverage in many rural areas.

“Although we are pleased that the FCC decided to allow full power public television stations to apply for non-reserved channels, the limitation that public television stations would be awarded the spectrum only if there were no competing commercial applicants is very disappointing,” said John Lawson, president and CEO of APTS. “In addition, the FCC delivered another blow to our services to rural America by deciding that our public television translators would not be exempt from auctions. DTV is the single most cost effective way to get high speed digital services to rural areas, but it won't ever happen if we can’t get the frequencies for digital translators.”

On July 3, 2001, public television won an appeal of a prior FCC decision that subjected public television stations to auctions when they apply for non-reserved spectrum.

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