FCC Offers Options to LPTV/Translator Stations Ahead of Displacement Window

In a public notice released June 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission outlined options for low-power television and translator stations that will likely be displaced by the testing or operations of the new wireless lisensees on the 600Mhz band, channels 38-51.

“Given the ongoing licensing in the 600 MHz band for wireless operations, and the possibility that LPTV/translator stations may need to terminate service on channels 38 through 51 prior to the Special Displacement Window, this notice sets forth two mechanisms these stations can avail themselves of to stay on the air. First, until the Special Displacement Window opens, an LPTV/translator station that receives the 120-day notice described above may operate on a temporary channel. Specifically, it may submit a displacement application together with a request for waiver of the Displacement Freeze and request Special Temporary Authority (STA) to operate on a temporary channel…” (paragraph 4).

The temporary channel available to the LPTV/translator stations to operate on must not cause interference and be found in the broadcast spectrum, somewhere between channels 2 and 36, which leaves option two as a more likely outcome.

“Displaced LPTV/translator stations may also use the following channel sharing tools to continue to provide service to viewers in areas where channel availability is limited.  We clarify that two or more eligible LPTV/translator stations may each request a waiver of the Displacement Freeze and submit a displacement application that proposes to share a channel with the other eligible LPTV/translator station(s)” (paragraph 8).

Both options, if granted, will be allowed to run on the temporary channel until the final results of the displacement window. Unfortunately, if the application is not granted, the LPTV/translator station will have to cease operations.

It’s a small comfort to those who will be affected, especially as the document suggests that the Special Displacement Window will not be open until early 2018.

More information, including the document in its entirety, can be found by clicking here.

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