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FCC takes another step toward spectrum auction

 - Floats LPTV, translator rule changes       

The FCC last week proposed several rule changes to LPTV stations and TV translators as it prepares for the voluntary incentive spectrum auction which is expected to leave some such operations stranded.  Among the proposals floated by the commission:                        

Digital Transition Deadline – The FCC proposes extending the Sept. 1, 2015 transition deadline, in part to avoid forcing stations to spend money on digital conversion when they may be wiped out by the TV band repacking. The new date is in question, with the FCC suggesting some alignment with the time at which the channels to be used by full-power stations are announced after the repacking.  This, however, presents complications for buying and installing necessary equipment.

Post-Auction Displacement Filing Window – The commission proposes a post-auction window for LPTV stations and translators to file applications for new channels and asks whether these services should be able to make significant changes in transmitter sites if needed.

FCC Repacking Software for New Channels – The FCC suggests that after repacking, the agency could review markets individually and suggest open channels – or channel sharing – for these services.

FM Radio on TV Channel 6 – The agency is exploring whether it should allow Channel 6 LPTV stations that convert to digital to continue to transmit a separate analog audio service.

These are just some of the proposals embedded in the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking.  Attorney David Oxenford with Wilkinson Baker Knauer, LLP offers his full assessment of the proposal here.

Questions?  Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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