Media Bureau moves on digital signal strength test waiver requests

The FCC Media Bureau took action April 28 on requests for waivers to exempt 60 stations from a rule that would allow satellite subscribers to receive or conduct a test of over-the-air digital signal strength under the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004 (SHVERA).

Under FCC rules, satellite subscribers could request such a test beginning April 30 if the local network station they wished to be tested is within the top 100 television markets and has received a tentative channel designation on its allotted digital channel or has lost interference protection. This rule will cover all full power local network television stations beginning July 15, 2007.

At issue is allowing the digital television signal of a distant local network station to enter a covered television market via satellite service where a local station affiliated with the same network exists. SHEVRA allows consumers to demonstrate eligibility for the distant signal by showing that a signal test of the local over-the-air network affiliate does not meet the standard for digital signal intensity proscribed by commission rules.

The Media Bureau granted digital testing waivers for 23 stations and denied or dismissed requests for 25 stations. Twelve were returned because the stations making the requests were not covered under the April deadline.

The stations granted the waiver would be exempt from the requirement for the digital signal strength test for six months. No further extension or waiver is permitted, the commission said.

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