The transition from analog to digital television broadcasting took place in relatively smooth order during the summer of 2009. However, low power stations were not required to come along for the ride, and many are still broadcasting in analog. The seeds are planted for that to change, and the FCC is opening the process up for comment.
As we reported in September, the FCC highlighted seven issues under consideration: (1) whether to adopt a hard deadline during 2012 for the termination of analog low power television facilities; (2) whether to require existing analog and digital low power television stations in the 700 MHz band (channels 52-69) to cease operations by a date certain and to submit displacement applications or discontinue operations altogether; (3) whether to delegate to the Media Bureau the authority to establish timeframes and procedures for stations “flash cutting” to digital on their existing analog channels and for those operating digital companion channels to return one of their channels; (4) whether to widen the class of low power television broadcasters subject to the Commission’s ancillary and supplementary fee rules; (5) whether to modify the Commission’s minor change rule so that it covers a proposed change in a low power television station’s transmitter site of up to 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the reference coordinates of the station’s transmitting antenna; (6) whether to revise the vertical antenna patterns used in the prediction methodology for the low power television services; and (7) whether to allow low power television stations to use the emission mask used by full power television stations.
The Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Memorandum Opinion and Order, or FNPRM was published in the Federal Register 10/18/10, setting up a comment die date of 12/17/10 and a reply comment date of 1/18/11.
The full LPDTV FNPRM is available here.