Broadcasters Urge Protection Of LPTVs
The FCC should consider establishing an industry working group to study ways to reduce the impact that the agency’s broadcast incentive auction next year could have on low-power TV and translator stations, said several broadcast industry groups in a letter today to the agency.
“[We] ... urge the commission to do everything in its power to ensure that the important benefits of LPTVs and TV translators are not undermined as a result of the incentive auction,” said the National Association of Broadcasters, the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance, the National Religious Broadcasters and the National Translator Association, in a May 7 letter.
Under the incentive auction law, full-power and Class A TV broadcasters who opt not to participate in the auction are supposed to be repacked into a new channel assignment plan, and the FCC is supposed to try to protect their existing coverage areas during the reshuffling.
The auction law does not provide similar protections for LPTVs and translators.
Still, the FCC should take whatever steps it can to avoid unduly damaging the lower-power services, including the establishment of the industry working group, the broadcasters said in their letter. In addition, the broadcasters urged the FCC to refrain from trying to reclaim more spectrum than needed to create the new national frequency band for wireless services.
“Any repacking should take into account existing LPTVs and translators and to the extent possible minimize the effect of repacking on those operations,” the broadcasters added in their letter.
“The commission should make all reasonable efforts to provide replacement channels for ‘fill-in’ translators, including digital replacement translators, which are essential for many full-power stations to reach significant portions of the populations they serve today,” the broadcasters continued.
“As was the case during the digital transition, LPTVs and translators should be able to continue to operate until wireless operations are implemented and operational,” the broadcasters also suggested.
“As the commission has long recognized, low-power television stations and TV translators play a critical role in the broadcast ecosystem,” the broadcasters said.