FCC Proposes 2012 Low Power DTV Transition Deadline
Date coincides with timeline given to stations in 2009 to construct digital facilities
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/19/2010 10:40:17 PM
While full-power broadcasters had to pull the plug June 12, 2009, low-power stations had no such deadline.
The commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Friday teeing up a variety of issues that need to be resolved, including whether to adopt a hard deadline for the low-power analog shut-off. "We propose that this time frame provides the best balance of allowing low power stations the flexibility needed for a successful transition to digital while ensuring that the transition occurs as quickly as possible," the commission said.
A 2012 deadline would also coincide with the three years the FCC gave low-power stations back in 2009 to construct digital facilities.
The FCC says that it will entertain suggestions for an earlier deadline, but says it is concerned that stations could transition to digital channels that might no longer be available when the FCC reallocates spectrum as part of the national broadband plan.
Low-power stations operating in channels 52-69, where full-power broadcasters have already been moved out to make way for wireless carriers, would be asked to vacate earlier, by Dec. 31, 2011.
The final comment date on the order is 90 days after publication in the federal register.
Powell Minnow - 9/20/2010 5:03:08 PM EDT
WHEN these Low power TV stations transition, then that would be the appropriate time to reallocate any existing HDTV stations on channels 5 & 6 away to other TV frequencies. Then TV channels 5 and 6 should be allocated to the broadcast radio services. The 6 MHz for Channel 5 should be all digital and the 6MHz of the old channel 6 should remain analog or hyrbrid, allowing consumers with old analog TV radios to receive these new FM stations, as well as the 'Frankenstein' FM broadcasters that broadcast FM in analog on the TV channel 6 audio carrier frequency. All existing daytimer AM stations, and AM stations with reduced night time power should be the first to get new allocations in new 'expanded FM band' in the Channel 5 & 6 area.
Lowell Thomas - 9/20/2010 5:00:38 PM EDT
What will happen to all those "FM Stations" that broadcast on 87.7 and 87.9 MHz? Will there be major lawsuits and "gnashing of teeth" as they are forced off the air?
Ken W. English - 9/20/2010 8:11:45 AM EDT
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