Digital LPTV rules now in effect

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The FCC’s Media Bureau announced 8/26 that the rules adopted in the Commission’s LPTV DTV Second Report and Order establishing rules for the digital LPTV transition are now in effect.  The LPTV DTV Second Report and Order was published in the Federal Register on 7/27. The Commission got approval from the Office of Management and Budget for all but two of the information collection requirements contained in the LPTV DTV Second Report and Order. The two remaining information collections require OMB approval. Those are: (1) the expansion of the Commission’s ancillary and supplementary rule to low power television permittees operating pursuant to STA and (2) the requirement that stations that have not already taken steps to convert notify the Commission of their digital transition plan. The Media Bureau will announce when those information collections have been granted OMB approval and have become effective.


As part of the DTV transition, broadcasters gave up channels 52 through 69, some of which are now being used for new 4G cell phone and broadband wireless services. Full power broadcasters had to vacate this spectrum in 2009 but LPTV and TV translator stations were allowed to continue using it until notified by the new “owner” of the spectrum that they were ready to use it.

That changed with the release of Second Report and Order (FCC 11-110), which requires LPTV and TV translator licensees on these frequencies to file displacement applications by 9/1 and cease operation above channel 51 by 12/31.

Earlier this month the FCC denied a Motion to Stay from the National Translator Association that said these deadlines are “unreasonably abrupt and unworkable.” NTA said the deadlines are unnecessary because an effective procedure is already in place that allows deployment of new services on these channels.

Stations wishing to utilize the new rules concerning emission masks, ERP increase and vertical antenna patterns must file FCC Forms 346 and 301-CA electronically using the CDBS efiling system.