FCC tees up DTV signal field strength methodology proceeding


“As recognized and directed by Congress in the STELA, a predictive model is needed to provide presumptive determinations as to whether a household is unserved by local network-affiliated digital full service and digital low power TV and digital TV translator stations.” So says the FCC as it opens the matter of picking a methodology to comment.

The proceeding is on somewhat of a fast track. Comments on the topic are due within 20 days of publication of the notice in the Federal Register, and reply comments 10 days after that.

The FCC didn’t spare any words when entitling the proceeding. The dual-headed matter is headed, “Establishment of a Model for Predicting Digital Broadcast Television Field Strength Received at Individual Locations” and “Measurement Standards for Digital Television Signals Pursuant to the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004.”

One portion is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. As the FCC describes it, “In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) portion of this action, we are proposing to prescribe a point-to-point predictive model for determining the ability of individual locations to receive an over-the-air digital television broadcast signal at the intensity level needed for service through the use of an antenna, as required by the STELA. Our goal in proposing this model is to provide a means for reliably and presumptively determining whether the over-the-air signals of television stations, including low power stations, can be received at individual locations for purposes of establishing the eligibility of individual households to receive the signals of distant television broadcast network stations from their satellite carriers. We believe that the proposed predictive model, which is based on the current model for predicting the intensity of analog television signals at individual locations, will allow such determinations to be made in a timely and cost effective manner for all parties involved, including network TV stations, satellite carriers and satellite subscribers.”

The second portion is an FNPRM: “In the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), we seek information to update the record in ET Docket No. 06-94, based on which we intend to prescribe rules for determining eligibility of satellite subscribers for receiving distant network signals from their satellite TV provider using on-location testing/measurements. The Commission previously sought comment on a variety of issues related to establishment of a procedure for on-location measurements pursuant to the SHVERA, but has not yet adopted final rules specifying such a procedure.1 In the STELA, Congress modified some of the testing requirements set forth in the SHVERA. We are addressing these modifications to both refresh the record and obtain additional information and comment on STELA requirements that differ from the SHVERA requirements.”