ATBA TO FCC: DON’T DISMANTLE LPTV AND TRANSLATORS

The full text of the comments may be viewed HERE.

WASHINGTON, DC – May 7, 2014/ The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance (ATBA) filed important ex parte comments this week with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in GN Docket 12-268, commonly known as the “Spectrum Incentive Auction.” These comments reiterate the factors that should drive the FCC’s approach to the auction with respect to Low Power Television (LPTV) stations and translators.

 

“In our ex parte filing, we stress that the FCC does not have authority from Congress to simply dismantle the LPTV and translator industries or to achieve the same result by conducting the auction without consideration of the impact on these vital local services,” states Louis Libin, ATBA Executive Director. “The FCC must undertake all reasonable efforts to preserve LPTV and translator facilities to the greatest extent possible.”

 

The FCC has taken the position that LPTV and translator stations are “secondary” for all purposes within the auction. A position that the ATBA respectfully disagrees. Because LPTV was designed to “fill in the gaps,” interference protection from primary (Full-Power) broadcasters could not be guaranteed. With this in mind, LPTV was given “secondary status” to the Full Power Television service in resolving interference issues. Never was the intent for LPTV to be secondary to other wireless services.

 

Libin continues, “I find it incredible that our government along with vested interest parties are forcing a process whereby scores of broadcasters will be forced out of business. The elimination of smaller stations known as LPTV stations will translate into fewer niche broadcast stations that serve diverse local communities, linguistically isolated people groups and religious audiences.”

 

The ATBA also believes that flexible use would give LPTV and translator licensees more options to maintain and grow services and preserve coverage. Flexible use has a proven track record of promoting innovation.

 

“Our country was built on innovation and broadcasters want an opportunity to pursue advance technologies in the marketplace,” according to Lee Miller, ATBA Communications Director. “We understand that the job given to the FCC by Congress is a difficult one and we do not oppose an inclusive spectrum auction. The ATBA is ready to work together constructively with the FCC to find solutions that adhere to the statute and respect the interests of all stakeholders. A continued informed dialogue on the enduring value of free and local television for all Americans benefits our nation.”

 

The LPTV service was created in 1982 designed to fill a void in communities that were not fully covered by full power broadcasting. LPTV stations were also created for niche broadcasting to address the need of minorities, women, and special interest groups, and for broadcasting in rural areas where full power stations were not able to serve the communities effectively.

 

“As stated in our comments, LPTV broadcasters provide diverse voices, offer niche programming, and extend full power network and independent stations’ free over-the-air television service to areas that otherwise would be unserved,” says Rod Payne, ATBA Chairman and an LPTV Station owner. “Unlike almost all other electronic media, LPTV broadcasters continue to be “mom and pops” – hometown businesses that serve their communities with local church services, local sports and cultural coverage, weather alerts, and programming for varied ethnic and linguistically isolated audiences.”

 

“The LPTV industry is just now getting back on its feet from the digital repack and transition. These “mom and pop” operators had to make large investments for new transmitters, antennas and broadcast infrastructure to conform to the digital standard. Many others had to move out of the way for a full power station and had to spend even more money filing for a new frequency. Yet they continue to provide a unique level of localism, and the FCC must act in the public interest by minimizing the impact on, and loss of, that unique localism.”

 

The full text of the comments may be viewed HERE.

 

The Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance is an industry organization comprised of low power television broadcasters, translators, full power television broadcasters and allied industry organizations and companies.  The goal of the Alliance is to preserve and promote the efficient and effective use of all television broadcast spectrum. Visit www.BroadcastingAlliance.org for more information and to join.

 

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