The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council says that low power television is caught between a rock and a broadband place – licensees are facing a rapidly-approaching deadline to install expensive digital equipment on extremely tight budgets, while at the same time facing possible extinction as the FCC considers repacking the television spectrum band in service of the National Broadband Plan. MMTC says this combination of events is unfair.
MMTC, in an article in its weekly newsletter Broadband & Social Justice said the mere fact that many stations are providing important programming, but subsiding nevertheless on a shoestring budget. Coming up with the cash to go digital is tough enough.
But as a secondary service, they enjoy little legal clout, and MMTC says they have no guarantees that their allotment will survive an FCC channel repacking operation.
MMTC says that the DTV deadline, which currently calls for full digital service by 2012, should be postponed until after any channel repacking is accomplished. Then, after the survivors of NBP machinations are known, it will be fair to start looking at a date to complete the total conversion to digital broadcast.
MMTC also want the FCC to take steps to protect stations that are providing local service where no other local over-the-air television exits, or where the station is providing programming not available from any other source.