Organizations wants brakes slammed on FCC low power TV order


The National Translator Association thinks it has a firm basis for asking the FCC to stay its new deadlines for LPTVs, Class A TVs and TV translators to find a new channel if necessary – the plan is utterly impossible. NTA said it is entirely possible that the new rule won’t even be in effect before the first deadline it establishes has past.

The FCC’s goal is to have the upper reaches of the old television band television, encompassing channels 52-69, completely cleared out by the end of the year. It issued its order 7/15/11, requiring that all affected low powers have an application for a new channel in place by 9/1/11 and have executed the move by the end of the year.

NTA says that if the order is published in the Federal Register as per usual, about two weeks after the FCC releases it, it’ll be 7/31/11. Add in another 30 days for the rule to take effect, and its 8/30/11. That gives stations two days to put together an application. If the order is published in the Federal Register sometime after 7/31/11, which would be completely in line with the historical range of expectation, there is an excellent chance that the deadline will have passed before the rule becomes effective.

NTA noted the many difficulties and hardships its members would face – locating an acceptable open channel, hiring engineers, conducting new interference studies, possibly needing to find a new transmitter site – all things that cannot be accomplished on a moment’s notice.

The association said that thus far there has been an orderly progression of low power channels exiting that part of the spectrum. It said that a company that acquired a portion of it can already give 120 days notice to any remaining facilities and order them to vacate. NTA wonders why, if the new owners can get access to it whenever they want already, there is a need for the process has to be terminated so abruptly. It asked the FCC to allow it an orderly transition to proceed as it has been without harm to any party and in the interest of citizens who use the stations.

George R. Borsari Jr. of Borsari and Paxson filed the comments on behalf of NTA.