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New FCC Webpage aims to simplify input channel updates for TV translators, LPTV stations

The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology and Media Bureau said May 29 that it has developed a special Webpage facility for TV translator, LPTV and Class A TV stations to update their input channel data in the Media Bureau’s Consolidated Database System (CDBS).

The Webpage is part of the agency’s effort to implement rules to support operation of unlicensed devices in TV white spaces, the agency said.

According to the FCC, the new Webpage is particularly important for low-power stations that are located outside of the service contours of the station they re-transmit.

TV translators and many low-power TV and Class A TV stations provide simultaneous re‑transmission of the program service of full-power TV stations. These stations typically receive this programming service over the air from the originating station’s broadcast signal and then re-transmit that programming on their own channel.

The commission’s rules protect TV signals received over the air by a low-power station and used as part of that station's service from interference from unlicensed TV white-space (TVWS) devices.

Protection is provided through TVWS database systems, which are accessed by TVWS devices to obtain lists of channels that are available for operation. The TVWS database systems provide protection based on records drawn from the CDBS. 

Low-power stations that are located outside of the originating station’s service contour but within 49mi of those station’s contours are protected by preventing TVWS devices from operating on their input channels in the vicinity of the receive site.

This protection is provided for the input channels recorded in the CDBS records of the low-power station. If the low-power TV station is located within the service contour of the full-power station (or other originating station), its input channels are protected by the rules prohibiting operation of TVWS devices within the service contours of the full- and low-power TV stations. The input channels of low-power stations located more than 49mi from the service contours of the full-service stations transmitting those channels are not protected unless the commission has granted a waiver.

According to the FCC, a significant number of low-power stations have not updated their input channels in the CDBS following the conclusion of the DTV transition of full-power stations. That transition saw many full-power stations change the channel upon which they operate. As a result, low-power stations retransmitting the stations had to update their equipment. The FCC cannot protect the input channels of such stations unless those stations properly update their records in the CDBS. The new Webpage is designed to make updating the records easy.