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FCC Freezes LPTV, Translator Applications in Rural Areas

The FCC's
Media Bureau Thursday issued a freeze, effetive immediately, on
applications for new digital low-power TV stations and translator
stations in rural areas while it determine how it will
have to reconfigure the TV band to make room for wireless broadband.

are low-power stations that retransmit the signals of full-powers to
areas that can't get a clear signal, often due to distance or terrain.

It could be a
while before applications are accepted again. The FCC said that only
after it finished its broadband rulemaking proceedings will it
"consider" a date for lifting a freeze.

began accepting applications in August 2009, but after the National
Broadband Plan was released in March 2009, the FCC launched an effort to
find 500 MHz of spectrum for wireless broadband,
including getting 120 MHz from broadcasters, which will likely require
"repacking" of full-power TV stations into a smaller spectrum allotment.

So as not to
have to deal with the extra moving piece of applications for new
low-power stations in that band, the FCC will put that process on hold,
as well as applications for major changes to existing LPTVs
and translators.

plans to launch its spectrum-reclamation rulemaking proposals at its
Nov. 30 public meeting, including making the VHF spectrum more
attractive so broadcasters won't mind being "repacked" to
those lower channels that are not as conducive to DTV reception as UHF
channels, something a reversal of the beachfront status of the VHF
vs. UHF during the analog era.