FCC slams the brakes on LPTV/translator expansion


The FCC was going to take applications for new digital low power television stations and TV translators back in January. Then it moved the date to July. Now its suspended the program indefinitely in light of the search for 500 MHz of spectrum called for in the National Broadband Plan. However, applications to take existing analog stations digital will be accepted.

Originally, applications for new sticks in rural areas were to be accepted 8/25/09 and for all areas 1/25/10. The January date was eventually postponed to 7/26/10, and now is postponed again until further notice.

The Media Bureau referenced the search for 500 MHz, and explained, “To aid in this endeavor, the Broadband Plan recommended, among other things, that the Commission initiate a rulemaking proceeding to reallocate 120 megahertz from the broadcast television bands, and also to consider methodologies for repacking television channels to increase the efficiency of channel use.” It said it needs time to evaluate the situation.

The FCC is interested in better serving rural areas, however, and in furthering the digital transition. So as of 7/26/10, applications for new digital LPTVs and translators will continue to be accepted in rural areas (along with major changes to existing rural facilities), and applications for analog stations to get a digital companion channel will be accepted. And any application to flash cut to digital is also good to go.