ATBA Petitions for ‘Blanket Extension’ or Waiver of New LPTV Construction Deadlines

Analog LPTV stations and translators with flash-cut and digital companion channel construction permits must convert to digital by Sept. 1, 2015. The cutover deadline for new LPTV stations is three years after their permit was issued. Earlier this year (Feb. 20, 2014), the FCC Media Bureau issued a Public Notice requesting comment on a Petition for Blanket Extension or Waiver filed by the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance (ATBA), an organization that represents hundreds of low-power and full-power TV broadcasters, owners and operators of translators, and allied industry organizations and companies.

In its filing, the ATBA seeks an extension or waiver of the construction deadline until Sept. 1, 2015, for all permittees authorized to construct new digital LPTV stations. The organization pointed out that: "The Commission has acknowledged consistently that requiring LPTV licensees to construct facilities that may be eliminated in repacking after the broadcast spectrum auction and repacking proceeding (the 'Incentive Auction Proceeding') makes no sense."

In support of the blanket extension or waiver, the ATBA stated: "…though the Commission has not granted a blanket waiver with respect to permits for new digital LPTV facilities, the Media Bureau, under the Commission’s direction, has granted more than 650 six-month construction deadline extensions on a "case-by-case" basis. Between now and the Sept. 1, 2015 date, LPTV permittees will file, and the FCC will certainly grant, hundreds and perhaps thousands more case-by-case extension applications.

The ATBA asked the FCC to grant a blanket extension of the construction deadline for new digital LPTV construction permits "until the same Sept. 1, 2015 date that already applies to other LPTV permits, thereby eliminating hundreds or thousands of hours of rote paperwork for permittees and FCC staff."

It noted that the "continued uncertainty and risk associated with the Incentive Auction Proceeding, including the recently announced delay of the auction until mid-2015" justified the granting of the group’s petition."

Comments are due Aug. 14, 2014 with a reply comment deadline of Aug. 28, 2014.

For information on how to file comments, refer to the Public Notice (DA 14-996). The ATBA Petition is available from the FCC ECFS.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.