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Rules for Digital LPTV, TV Translator, and Class A Television Stations

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Released: July 15, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 11-110

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Amendment of Parts 73 and 74 of the
)
MB Docket No. 03-185
Commission's Rules to Establish Rules for Digital
)
Low Power Television, Television Translator, and
)
Television Booster Stations and to Amend Rules
)
for Digital Class A Television Stations
)

SECOND REPORT AND ORDER

Adopted: July 15, 2011


Released: July 15, 2011

By the Commission: Commissioners Copps and McDowell issuing separate statements.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Heading
Paragraph #
I.
INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................. 1
II. BACKGROUND .................................................................................................................................... 3
III. SECOND REPORT AND ORDER........................................................................................................ 6
A. Completion of the Transition To Digital.......................................................................................... 7
1. September 1, 2015 Transition Date............................................................................................. 7
2. Provision for "Last Minute" Extension..................................................................................... 13
3. Application of Tolling Standards to Low Power Television Digital Construction
Permits After May 1, 2015 ....................................................................................................... 17
4. Consumer Education ................................................................................................................. 19
B. Out-of-Core Transition Date.......................................................................................................... 23
1. December 31, 2011 Out-of-Core Transition Deadline.............................................................. 23
2. September 1, 2011 Out-of-Core Displacement Application Deadline...................................... 33
3. Notification and Termination Provisions .................................................................................. 35
C. Increase in Power Levels for VHF Channels................................................................................. 37
D. Dismissal of Analog Applications ................................................................................................. 40
E. Surrender of Channels.................................................................................................................... 42
1. Procedures for Surrender of Channels ...................................................................................... 42
2. Requirement For Timely Construction of Digital Facilities ..................................................... 46
3. Notice to Viewers...................................................................................................................... 49
F. Class A Television Transition to Digital........................................................................................ 51
G. Ancillary and Supplementary Services .......................................................................................... 55
H. Definition of Minor Change........................................................................................................... 58
I.
Antenna Vertical Radiation Patterns ............................................................................................. 64
J. Use of Full Power DTV Emission Mask ....................................................................................... 68
K. Issues Outside the Scope of the Proceeding .................................................................................. 70
IV. PROCEDURAL MATTERS ................................................................................................................ 71
A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis ..................................................................................... 71
B. Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis......................................................................... 72
V. ORDERING CLAUSES ........................................................................................................................ 75
APPENDIX A List of Commenters
APPENDIX B Final Rules
APPENDIX C Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

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FCC 11-110

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Second Report and Order, we take steps to resolve the remaining issues in this
proceeding in order to allow a timely and successful completion of the low power television digital
transition.1 Although Congress established a hard deadline of June 12, 2009 for full power stations to
cease analog operations and begin operating only in digital, the statutory deadline did not apply to low
power television stations.2 Therefore, while all full power television stations have ceased over-the-air
analog broadcasting, many low power television stations are continuing to transmit analog signals.3
2.
To ensure a timely and successful completion to the low power television digital
transition, we take the following steps: (1) adopt a hard deadline of

September 1, 2015

for the
termination of all analog low power television facilities; (2) establish rules permitting those stations
needing additional time to complete their digital transition to obtain a "last minute" extension; (3) require
existing analog and digital low power television stations in the 700 MHz band (channels 52-69) to submit
displacement applications by

September 1, 2011,

and to cease operations in the 700 MHz band by

December 31, 2011

; (4) increase the power limits for VHF low power television channels to 3 kilowatts
(the current analog power limit); (5) delegate to the Media Bureau the authority to establish timeframes
and procedures for stations that have not already converted to notify the Commission of their conversion
plans; (6) widen the class of low power television broadcasters subject to the Commission's ancillary and
supplementary fee rules; (7) modify the Commission's minor change rule so that it covers a proposed
change in a low power television station's transmitter site of up to 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the
reference coordinates of the station's transmitting antenna; (8) revise the vertical antenna patterns used in
the prediction methodology for the low power television services; and (9) allow low power television
stations to use the emission mask used by full power television stations.

II.

BACKGROUND

3.
The Commission first established a framework for the digital low power television
transition in 2004. The Digital LPTV Order established a regulatory framework intended to hasten the
transition of low power television stations to digital operations, while minimizing disruption of existing
service to consumers served by analog low power television stations. The Commission granted all


1 In this item, Class A TV stations, low power television stations (referred to separately as "LPTV"), and TV
translators, are referred to collectively as "low power television stations." There are a total of 7240 licensed low
power television stations: 522 Class A TV, 2191 LPTV, and 4527 TV translator stations. See "Broadcast Station
Totals as of December 31, 2010," News Release, February 11, 2011.
2 See DTV Delay Act, Pub. L. No.111-4, 123 Stat. 112 (2009) ("DTV Delay Act"); Digital Television and Public
Safety Act of 2005 ("DTV Act"), which is Title III of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-171, 120
Stat. 4 (2006) (codified at 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(14) and 337(e)). See also Amendment of Parts 73 and 74 of the
Commission's Rules to Establish Rules for Digital Low Power Television, Television Translator, and Television
Booster Stations and to Amend Rules for Digital Class A Television Stations, Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 19331,
19337-19338 13-18 (2004) (Digital LPTV Order) (interpreting the Communications Act to give the FCC
discretion to establish a deadline for the transition of low power television stations "after the end" of the full-service
station transition period), citing 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(14)(A), 336(f)(4). DTV Act 3002(a) amended Section
309(j)(14) of the Communications Act to establish February 17, 2009 as the original hard deadline for the end of
analog transmissions by full power stations. 47 U.S.C. 309(j)(14)(A). The DTV Delay Act extended the DTV
transition date from February 17, 2009 to June 12, 2009.
3 Full power television stations receive greater interference protection and operate at higher power levels than low
power television stations. In addition, full power television stations may operate only on channels that appear in the
Commission's Table of Allotments (see 47 C.F.R. 73.622(i)), whereas low power television stations may operate
on any available channel that does not result in unacceptable interference to other spectrum users.
2

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FCC 11-110

existing low power television stations the opportunity to seek either an on-channel digital conversion
("flash cut") authorization or the opportunity to receive a "digital companion channel" to operate with
their analog channel.4 The Commission sought to facilitate, wherever possible, the digital transition of
low power television stations, thereby enabling their viewers to realize the many benefits of digital
broadcast television technology.5 The rules and policies adopted therein provided flexible and affordable
opportunities for the initiation of digital low power television service, through the conversion of existing
analog service and, where spectrum is available, through new digital stations. In addition, in the Digital
LPTV Order
, the Commission concluded that the Communications Act compelled low power television
stations ultimately to convert to digital operation, but deferred the decision as to what date to set for the
low power television digital transition date to a future proceeding.6
4.
Since adoption of the digital rules in 2004, the Media Bureau has granted 2980
construction permits for low power television stations to flash cut to digital.7 In addition, the Media
Bureau has granted 1354 construction permits for digital companion channels. Although only 60 percent
of the existing 7240 stations in the low power television services have taken steps to move toward digital
operation, the Commission has seen a rapid increase of the licensing of digital low power television
facilities over the past year. This is likely due to the fact that the full power television digital transition
has been completed which has led to additional channels (that were returned by full power television
stations) being available to low power television stations for use with their digital facilities, and a greater
number of viewers of low power television stations possessing digital receivers. Based upon the
increased number of stations seeking digital authorizations, we believe that the low power television
service as a whole is now much closer to being ready to complete the transition to digital broadcasting
than it was in 2004.
5.
The National Broadband Plan ("Broadband Plan") recommended several measures to
increase the efficiency of spectrum use in the broadcast TV bands with the goal of ultimately reallocating
spectrum from those bands for use in the provision of mobile broadband services.8 Among other things,
the Broadband Plan recommended establishing "a deadline to achieve the DTV transition of low power
television stations by the end of 2015 or after the reallocation of spectrum from the broadcast TV bands is
complete."9 In this proceeding, we proposed deadlines and procedures to complete the low power
television transition to digital broadcast technology in order to promote more efficient use of spectrum in
the broadcast TV bands. We received 37 comments, 16 reply comments and 6 ex parte letters in response


4 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19376 and 19379. The Commission provided existing LPTV, TV translator
and Class A station licensees and permittees the initial opportunity to file for digital companion channels before
giving non-incumbents the chance to file applications for new digital stations. Id. at 19383.
5 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19331
6 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19337 ("As an integral component of the nation's television system, we
believe that Congress intended LPTV, TV translator and Class A stations to transition to digital service, thereby
permitting their viewers to realize the benefits of digital broadcast technology.").
7 This figure includes "digital displacement applications", where a low power television station seeks a new
operating channel as a result of being displaced by a full power television or wireless license and also seeks to
convert its facilities to digital.
8 See Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan at 94 (March 2010); available at
http://broadband.gov/plan/.
9 Id. at 92.
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to the Further Notice.10

III.

SECOND REPORT AND ORDER

6.
Since the initiation of the digital television conversion process, we have consistently
sought to ensure an expedited and successful transition for all television services.11 In order to further
hasten the low power television conversion to digital, so that more of the public will be able to enjoy the
benefits of digital broadcast television technology and to increase the efficient use of available spectrum,
we now establish the timetable and procedures for the final low power television digital conversion and
modify our technical rules to allow low power television stations to enhance their service in order to
ensure a successful conversion by allowing additional operating power for VHF channels, allow
acceptance of actual vertical antenna patterns, and the use of the full power television emission mask.

A.

Completion of the Transition to Digital

1.

September 1, 2015 Transition Date

7.
The vast majority of commenters recognize that the time is now ripe for the Commission
to complete the digital television transition by setting a hard deadline for low power stations to cease
analog operations and begin operating in digital.12 Taking into account all of the factors outlined in the
Further Notice as well as the wide variety of comments provided in this proceeding, we conclude that
adoption of a

September 1, 2015

date for the termination of all analog low power television service will
ensure a successful completion of the digital transition. The principal obstacle to establishing a hard
deadline for the low power television digital transition - the need to wait for passage of the full power
transition deadline in order to increase the number of viewers ready to receive a digital signal - has now
been eliminated.13 Completion of the full power television digital transition on June 12, 2009, created an
incentive for television viewers to transition to digital service (either through a digital receiver or analog
converter) in order to be able to continue viewing full power television stations over the air. In fact, a
report issued by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration ("NTIA"), notes that
the number of households that could not view digital television dropped significantly from 2.2 percent in


10 Amendment of Parts 73 and 74 of the Commission's Rules to Establish Rules for Digital Low Power Television,
Television Translator, and Television Booster Stations and to Amend Rules for Digital Class A Television Stations,
Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd 13833 (2010) (Further Notice). Appendix A contains a list of commenters in this
proceeding. Comments in response to the NPRM were due on December 17, 2010 and reply comments were due on
January 18, 2011. See "Media Bureau Announces Comment and Reply Comment Dates for the LPDTV Transition
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, DA 10-1996, 25 FCC Rcd 14493 (MB 2010). Because the Commission's
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) was unavailable after 6pm ET on December 17, 2010 due to building
maintenance, the comment deadline was extended to December 20, 2010. See "Extension of Deadline Paper and
Electronic Filings," Public Notice, released December 17, 2010.
11 See, e.g., Third Periodic Review of the Commission's Rules and Policies Affecting the Conversion To Digital
Television, Report and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 2994 (2007) (Third Periodic DTV Report and Order).
12 See, e.g., Verizon Comments at 2; Airwaves Comments at 1; One Ministries Comments at 1; Island Comments at
2; Flinn Comments at 3; Renard Reply Comments at 1; Joint Commenters Reply Comments at 1-2; CTIA
Comments at 7; Trinity Comments at 2; Signal Comments at 5-6; Flinn Comments at 2-4; Venture Comments at 2;
Syncom Reply Comments at 6; NTA Comments at 2; H&D Comments at 2; Cordillera Comments at 2; PBS
Comments at 4; NPR Comments at 2; Harris Comments at 6; Entravision Comments at 3; CERC Comments at 2-3;
CEA Comments at 2; Liberty Comments at 2; Elizabeth Trinkle Comments at 3.
13 See Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13837.
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June 2009 (at the time of the full power digital transition) to 0.5 percent in October 2009.14 With the full
power transition now complete, and a vast majority of viewers thus able to receive digital broadcasts, we
believe it is appropriate to require low power television stations to complete their transition to digital.
8.
We conclude that adoption of a transition date in 2012, as proposed in the Further Notice,
would not be appropriate given the present status of the ongoing proceedings implementing the
Broadband Plan. Specifically, in November 2010 the Commission initiated the Broadband Innovation
rulemaking proceeding to consider the reallocation of existing UHF and VHF spectrum for the provision
of wireless broadband services.15 To facilitate the recovery of spectrum for wireless services, the
Commission sought comments on a framework to allow two or more stations to share a six-megahertz
channel, as well as on the possibility of repacking the remaining channels to increase the efficiency of
spectrum use.16 A 2012 deadline would be more likely than a later deadline to require some low power
operators to construct digital facilities twice: once to meet the 2012 conversion deadline; and then later in
accordance with any reallocation scheme. Commenters point out that many low power television stations
are not in the position to transition twice.17 We agree that it would be preferable for these stations not to
have to make the significant investment required for conversion to digital facilities, when such facilities
may have to be substantially modified due to channel displacement or taken off the air altogether in
connection with the implementation of a spectrum repacking scheme.18 We share the concern, expressed
by George Flinn, that "an accelerated push to force a digital conversion, without any overwhelming need
(again, since LPTV stations are secondary services and the National Broadband Plan effort is still in its
infancy), will only artificially pressure both LPTV owners and viewers (in a time of prolonged financial
headwinds)."19 Thus, we disagree with those commenters who believe that a 2012 hard deadline is
appropriate and would provide stations with sufficient time to complete their transition.20 A transition
deadline more than four years into the future will allow time for low power operators to learn more about
the direction of the Broadband Innovation proceeding. Even if the reallocation is not concluded before
the conversion deadline, a 2015 deadline will permit low power operators to take specific proposals into
account when finalizing their transition plans. It will also be further removed from the prolonged
economic downturn that began in late 2007, and will provide more time for operators to secure the
necessary funding. To this end, we note that $30,142,922 in funds remain in the NTIA's Low-Power
Television and Translator Upgrade Program to reimburse licensees of eligible low-power television
stations for equipment to upgrade their low-power television stations from analog to digital in eligible


14 See Outside the Box, The Digital TV Converter Box Coupon Program, NTIA, U.S. Department of Commerce, at
20, (Dec. 2009) (available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/reports/2010/DTVReport_Outsidethebox.pdf) (citing data
from the Nielsen Company).
15 Innovation in the Broadcast Television Bands: Allocations, Channel Sharing and Improvements to VHF, Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking
, 25 FCC Rcd 16498 (2010) (Broadcast Innovation NPRM).
16 Id. at 16502 and 16506.
17 See, e.g., Island Comments 2-3; see also Renard Comments at 2; Una Vez Mas Comments at 2; H&D Comments
at 2; One Ministries Comments at 1.
18 Id. As Signal points out, forcing low power stations to incur significant construction costs only to force them to
move again or cease operations "is a risk which low power licensees should not be required to take." Signal
Comments at 3. NTA also explains that "If a licensee fears it may need to make the investment twice or more, it
may be unwilling or unable to incur the additional foreseeable risks inherent in zoning, applying, contracting, and
constructing, and may simply give up." NTA Reply Comments at 4.
19 Flinn Comments at 5.
20 See, e.g., Cellular South Comments at 3-4; Liberty Comments at 2-3; Elizabeth Trinkle Comments at 3-5; CEA
Comments at 7; Entravision Comments at 3-4; Harris Comments at 6; NPR Comments at 2.
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rural communities21 We encourage the NTIA to explore seeking an extension of the statutory deadline
from Congress given the number of LPTV stations that will transition after the current expiration of the
program on September 30, 2012. Thus, we conclude, that the overall low power television transition
process would be better served by setting the transition date far enough in the future to increase the
probability that low power television stations can avoid transitioning twice, once in connection with a
future reallocation and again when they complete their digital transition, and at minimum to enable
stations to consider proposals in the Broadband Innovation proceeding when they finalize their transition
plans.22 In addition, a 2015 deadline would be consistent with the Broadband Plan's recommendation to
conclude the digital transition by the end of 2015.23
9.
We also find that the record in this proceeding demonstrates that adoption of a transition
date of

September 1, 2015

will provide in-core stations that, unlike out-of-core stations, have had no
impetus to begin taking the steps towards transition, time to complete the digital transition. A deadline
four years in the future will give these low power television stations time to determine the best location
for their digital operation, prepare and file an application, obtain a grant of their construction permit,
order equipment, hire an installation crew, complete installation, conduct testing, and carry out other
necessary steps toward the transition.
10.
Furthermore, as we stated in the Further Notice, we seek to bring the benefits of digital
broadcast technology to low power television viewers. Conversion to digital will promote efficient use of
spectrum, and potentially enable low power television stations to take advantage of the opportunity to
channel share. A hard transition date will ensure that the benefits of digital technology are realized
without further delay. Additionally, given that by October 2009 only 0.5 percent of the total television
households remained unready to receive digital signals, it is reasonable to project that by the low power
digital conversion date nearly six years later, almost all viewers that want to receive broadcast television
would have taken the necessary steps to be digital-ready. Adopting a transition date of

September 1,
2015

will allow low power television stations to have better understanding of the overall spectrum
landscape when determining their final transition plan while ensuring a date by which analog spectrum
must be put to a more efficient digital use. We therefore reject proposals to conclude the digital transition
only after a future spectrum reallocation is completed.24 For the reasons stated above, regardless of status


21 The NTIA created this program to implement the Low-Power Television and Translator Upgrade Program, P. L.
109-171, Section 3009 (as amended). Operators wishing to apply for funds must file with the agency by July 2,
2012. Further information about this program can be obtained at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/lptv/upgrade.html.
22 Venture argues that until "LPTV operators have concrete information sufficient to allow them to assess their
continued viability following implementation of the National Broadband Plan, the Commission should not impose a
deadline which an LPTV operator must convert to digital operations." Venture Comments at 2. Likewise, as Flinn
puts it, "without a firm legal tailwind (i.e., a definitive repack plan) necessitating a firm transition deadline, it
doesn't appear to make sense to force an issue." Flinn Comments at 6. See also Trinity Comments at 2; Signal
Comments at 5; State of Idaho Comments at 4; LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 3; LPTV Entrepreneurs
Comments at 7; Island Comments at 3.
23 We recognize that the Broadband Plan recommended that the Commission conclude the digital transition by the
end of 2015 "or after the reallocation of spectrum from the broadcast TV bands is complete." Broadband Plan at 92
As explained below, however, we believe a hard deadline is necessary to ensure that the benefits of digital
technology are realized as soon as possible without unduly burdening low power licensees. See paras. 10 & 12,
infra.
24 Venture argues that until "LPTV operators have concrete information sufficient to allow them to assess their
continued viability following implementation of the National Broadband Plan, the Commission should not impose a
deadline which an LPTV operator must convert to digital operations." Venture Comments at 2. Likewise, as Flinn
puts it, "without a firm legal tailwind (i.e., a definitive repack plan) necessitating a firm transition deadline, it
doesn't appear to make sense to force an issue." Flinn Comments at 6. See also Trinity Comments at 2; Signal
(continued....)
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of the Broadband Innovation proceeding in 2015, we believe it appropriate to set

September 1, 2015

as a
firm deadline by which the low power television transition to digital must be completed.
11.
As for the specific date in 2015 for the transition, based upon our experience from the full
power television transition, and the record in this proceeding, we conclude that setting the low power
transition date to occur in the middle of summer will maximize available construction time and minimize
weather-related disruptions for low power television stations, many of which are located in
remote/weather-sensitive areas. As NTA observes, weather and continuity of TV broadcast service are
reasons to permit stations to continue analog operations into the summer months.25 Cordillera and H&D
also both point to the need for stations to have the benefit of a full construction season.26 PBS, Cordillera
and H&D point out that many low power television stations serve remote and rural areas of the country or
have high-elevation transmitter sites, some of which can be covered with snow as late as June.27
Construction in these areas will require additional time. A

September 1, 2015

transition date will ensure
that all low power stations have ample time to complete their facilities prior to the deadline.
12.
We disagree with LPTV Licensee Group, the State of Idaho, Venture and WLFM that no
hard deadline should be set.28 LPTV Licensee Group argues "that marketplace forces are sufficient to
achieve that result in a timely and effective manner without government compulsion."29 Venture argues
that "LPTV broadcasters know the needs of their viewers best and thus are the best judge as to the timing
of the LPTV Transition."30 WLFM agrees that low power television broadcasters should be afforded the
flexibility to choose between analog and digital modes of operation.31 LPTV Licensee Group asserts that
low power stations are motivated to set their own digital transition timetable and that there "is no reason
for an LPTV station to continue analog operation unless there is a public demand for the service . . . ."32
The State of Idaho believes that the Commission "should impose an application deadline rather than
conversion deadline."33 We previously concluded that the Communications Act compelled low power
television stations ultimately to convert to digital operation.34 Therefore, the statute forbids permitting
low power television stations to forever avoid converting to digital. Furthermore, allowing low power
stations to continue operating in analog and to substantially delay or forgo completing their conversion to
digital would prevent consumers from enjoying the benefits of digital broadcast technology, including


(...continued from previous page)
Comments at 5; State of Idaho Comments at 4; LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 3; LPTV Entrepreneurs
Comments at 7; Island Comments at 3.
25 NTA Reply Comments at 6.
26 Cordillera Comments at 2; H&D Comments at 7.
27 Cordillera Comments at 2; H&D Comments at 7; PBS Comments at 5.
28 LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 1; State of Idaho Comments at 8; WLFM Comments at 3; Venture Reply
Comments at 6.
29 LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 1.
30 Venture Reply Comments at 6.
31 WLFM Comments at 3.
32 Id.
33 State of Idaho Comments at 8.
34 See Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19337.
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improved picture and sound quality, and additional program offerings through multicasting.35 We believe
that setting a hard deadline more than four years in the future balances the concerns raised by low power
operators with the need to complete the digital conversion across all television services in order to use the
spectrum designated for broadcast efficiently36 and to bring the benefits of digital technology to all
viewers.
2.

Provision for "Last Minute" Extension

13.
We adopt the following measures to assist low power stations that need additional time to
complete construction of their final digital facilities. First, we extend all outstanding low power
television station digital construction permits to

September 1, 2015

, and dismiss as moot all pending
extension applications.37 In addition, we will permit low power stations that, despite their best efforts, are
unable to make a timely conversion to file extension applications (no later than

May 1, 2015

) to request
one last six-month extension of their digital construction permits to

March 1, 2016.

Although we will
grant "last-minute" extensions based on appropriate showings, all stations must cease operating their
analog facilities on

September 1, 2015

. Finally, after

May 1, 2015

, we will no longer permit stations to
file applications for extension of their digital construction permits. Instead, we will begin applying the
tolling standards in Section 73.3598 of the Commission's rules to all new and pending low power
television digital construction permits. We believe that these provisions will ensure that stations have
ample time to complete construction of their digital facilities leading up to the

September 1, 2015

deadline while ensuring a successful transition to digital.
14.
We conclude that fairness dictates that stations with outstanding digital construction
permits set to expire in the coming months or years be given until

September 1, 2015

to complete their
digital facilities. Given that the transition is not set to occur until

September 1, 2015,

we do not believe
that stations should be forced to transition before they are truly prepared to do so simply because their
digital construction permits are set to expire. Stations with outstanding construction permits obtained
them without knowing the final timetable for the completion of the digital transition. With a hard
deadline now set, those stations should not be penalized for getting an early start on the transition process;
rather, they should be permitted to revise their digital construction schedule to meet their own financial
and market demands. Furthermore, extending the deadline for all low power television station digital
construction permits will encourage stations to file applications for their digital facilities as soon as
possible, rather than incentivizing licensees to file as late as possible to obtain a construction permit with
a

September 1, 2015

expiration date. Moreover, setting all low power digital construction permits to
expire on

September 1, 2015

will provide certainty for all stations and streamline the review process.
Therefore, we extend the expiration date of all outstanding low power television digital construction


35 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19338; see also CEA Comments at 6.
36 Regarding efficiencies resulting from completing the digital conversion across all television platforms, we note
that because low power stations still broadcast in analog, television manufacturers must include both NTSC and
ATSC tuners in their non mobile devices. See 47 C.F.R. 15.117(b) ("TV broadcast receivers shall be capable of
adequately receiving all channels allocated by the Commission to the television broadcast service."); see also Office
of Engineering and Technology Laboratory Division Knowledge Database (available at
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/oetcf/kdb/forms/FTSSearchResultPage.cfm?id=42863&switch=P), Publication Number
218634 (rel. Dec. 17, 2009) (confirming dual ATSC/NTSC tuner requirement).
37 We note that this change in expiration date applies only to digital construction permits for existing stations' flash-
cut or digital companion channel facilities. Construction permits for new, digital-only facilities shall continue to be
granted for a three-year term and permittees may seek an extension of their construction permit pursuant to the
procedures set forth in Section 74.788(c) of the rules. See 47 C.F.R. 74.788(c). However, after

May 1, 2015

,
construction permits for new digital-only low power television facilities shall be subject to the tolling provisions in
Section 73.3598 of the rules. See 47 C.F.R. 73.3598.
8

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permits to

September 1, 2015.

Going forward, all newly-granted low power television digital
construction permits for digital companion channels and digital flash-cut shall have a

September 1, 2015

expiration date. We dismiss as moot all outstanding digital construction permit extension applications.
15.
As we noted in the Further Notice, we recognize that stations that diligently pursue
completion of their digital facilities nevertheless may face unexpected delays in the months leading up to
the

September 1, 2015

transition date.38 Some of these stations may be located in communities that rely
solely on over-the-air service from stations in the low power services that need additional time to
complete their digital construction.39 We agree with those commenters that believe that we should
provide the opportunity for a "last-minute" extension of the transition deadline to permit low power
stations that need additional time to complete their digital facilities.40 We agree with those commenters
that cite to circumstances where such flexibility is both reasonable and warranted.41 For example,
Entravision and Una Vez Mas point out that stations located near the borders of Canada and Mexico may
need additional time as their facilities may need to be coordinated with those countries.42 Similarly,
Entravision notes that the availability of equipment installation crews may be limited in the months
leading up to transition date.43 Given these circumstances, we will allow low power television stations
that need extra time to build their digital facilities to file an FCC Form 337 extension application no later
than

May 1, 2015

for one last six-month extension to

March 1, 2016

. No further extension applications
will be accepted. We remind those stations seeking a "last-minute" extension that in completing the Form
337 they will be required to demonstrate that they meet the extension criteria set forth in Section
74.788(c) of the rules.44 Under that rule, stations that have not completed construction of their digital
facilities must show that the delay was due to circumstances that were either unforeseeable or beyond
their control or due to financial hardship. Further, stations will need to demonstrate that they have taken
all reasonable steps to resolve the problem expeditiously and must provide detailed information, financial
or otherwise, as to why they will be unable to meet the

September 1, 2015

deadline.
16.
We reiterate that the

September 1, 2015

transition date is a "hard" deadline and that all
low power television stations, including those that obtain a last-minute extension, will be required to
cease analog operations on

September 1, 2015

, and those with unbuilt digital facilities will have to
remain silent while they complete construction.45 We conclude that stations will have a stronger incentive
to complete construction of their digital facilities by the

September 1, 2015

transition date if they are


38 See Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13839.
39 Id.
40 See, e.g., Flinn Comments at 7; Una Vez Mas Comments at 2; Harris Comments at 5-6; Entravision Comments at
7-10; Inspiration Comments at 7; Syncom Reply Comments at 2.
41 See, e.g., George Flinn Comments at 7; Entravision Comments at 7; Una Vez Mas Comments at 4.
42 Entravision Comments at 7; Una Vez Mas Comments at 4.
43 Entravision Comments at 7.
44 47 C.F.R. 74.788(c).
45 Stations should be mindful of Section 312(g) of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 312(g), which provides
that: "If a broadcasting station fails to transmit broadcast signals for any consecutive 12-month period, then the
station license granted for the operation of that broadcast station expires at the end of that period, notwithstanding
any provision, term, or condition of the license to the contrary, except that the Commission may extend or reinstate
such station license if the holder of the station license prevails in an administrative or judicial appeal, the applicable
law changes, or for any other reason to promote equity and fairness. Any broadcast license revoked or terminated in
Alaska in a proceeding related to broadcasting via translator, microwave, or other alternative signal delivery is
reinstated."
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required to cease analog operations after that date. Thus, we believe this requirement is necessary in
order to ensure that stations take all steps necessary to complete their digital construction in a timely
manner so that they can quickly resume service. In addition, given that fewer and fewer households
continue to rely on analog television service,46 we conclude that the slight potential for the loss of analog
service that may occur on

September 1, 2015

is greatly outweighed by the need to ensure that all low
power television stations complete a timely digital conversion.
3.

Application of Tolling Standards to Low Power Television Digital
Construction Permits After May 1, 2015

17.
The digital extension criteria in Section 74.788 of the rules will no longer be relevant
after the

May 1, 2015

deadline for "last minute" extensions of construction permits. Nevertheless, we
recognize that there may be circumstances beyond a permittee's control that warrant relief from the
construction deadline. Accordingly, beginning

May 2, 2015

, stations may seek additional time to
construct their new or modified digital facilities through the tolling provisions in section 73.3598 of the
rules. We note that the circumstances that warrant "tolling" of a construction permit's expiration date are
much more limited than those that warrant an extension of time to construct. Tolling will be the only
means by which stations may seek additional time to complete construction after

May 1, 2015

. We
adopted the same approach for full power television prior to the conclusion of the full power digital
transition on June 12, 2009. 47 In considering appropriate procedures to facilitate the final full power
transition to digital, we concluded that, "once the transition to an all-digital broadcast service has
occurred, it is appropriate to apply a stricter `tolling' approach to construction deadlines."48 Our
conclusion was based upon the fact that, once the transition deadline has passed, "stations will no longer
be required to operate dual facilities and the demand for scarce resources by industry will level off."49
We believe the same to be the case for low power television services. Following the conclusion of the
low power transition on

September 1, 2015

, only those stations granted last-minute extensions will need
to focus their attention on digital construction and, as was the case with the full power television
transition, the demand for scarce construction and installation resources will have leveled off. Therefore,
it will no longer be necessary to allow stations the greater flexibility afforded by the digital extension
process in seeking additional time to complete construction. Furthermore, in the Digital LPTV Order, we
applied the digital extension rules to low power television stations because we found that stations in the
low power television service may find the DTV construction process very challenging.50 Since that
process will be complete on

September 1, 2015,

and given our adoption of a "last-minute" extension
provision, the tolling standard will afford low power permittees sufficient authority to obtain extensions
due to circumstances beyond their control. Although our normal extension provisions provide greater
flexibility, the public interest in bringing the low power television transition to a timely conclusion
outweighs the need to accommodate permittees who are unable to secure extensions under the tolling
standard. Therefore, after the

May 1, 2015

deadline for submission of "last minute" extension
applications, Section 74.788 will no longer apply.


46 As previously noted, a report issued by NTIA indicates that the number of households that could not view digital
television dropped to 0.5 % in October 2009. See Outside the Box, The Digital TV Converter Box Coupon Program,
at 20, (citing data from the Nielsen Company).
47 See Third Periodic Review of the Commission's Rules and Policies Affecting the Conversion to Digital
Television, Report and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 2994, 3035 (2007).
48 Id.
49 Id.
50 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19389.
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18.
We reiterate that after

May 1, 2015,

low power television stations that experience a delay
in digital construction due to one of the tolling events listed in Section 73.3598(b) of the rules (i.e., act of
God, administrative or judicial review, pending court action related to requirements for construction or
operation of the station, obtaining international coordination, or bankruptcy of station licensee) may
follow the notification procedures in Section 73.3598(c) and request that their digital construction
deadline be tolled.51 This shall be the only provision for obtaining additional time to complete
construction for digital stations in the low power television service.
4.

Consumer Education

19.
With the low power transition date now set for

September 1, 2015

, we do not believe it
is necessary now to decide on the exact form and extent of our consumer education. However, as we
begin our education efforts, we will be guided by our experience from the full power DTV transition,
completed on June 12, 2009, as how best to inform consumers about the forthcoming low power change
to digital. In addition, we have the excellent record from commenters in this proceeding on which to base
these efforts. We will consider these comments as we decide how best to ensure that consumers are
prepared for the low power television digital transition and shall announce our specific consumer
education initiatives as we draw closer to the actual transition date.
20.
As the

September 1, 2015

transition date approaches, we will determine whether to
expand and update the FCC's existing call center so that consumers can receive up-to-the-minute
information on such matters as "rescanning," help setting up digital converters boxes for analog TVs, or
help resolving broader reception issues.52 Alternatively, we will consider what steps to take to encourage
the development of third-party call centers, such as might be provided by a group of low power television
licensees working jointly. PBS and LPTV Licensee Group support this plan.53 We disagree with Una
Vez Mas and NTA that use of call centers is not necessary and is an inefficient use of resources.54 A
significant number of viewers continue to rely on over-the-air broadcasting and we believe that the use of
our 1-888-CALL-FCC number may be an important tool for providing information and education to this
segment of the viewing public. As Elizabeth Trinkle observes, the use of local call centers for senior
citizens and rural residents, as well as targeted community outreach within ethnic, non-English speaking
communities, may be an effective means of consumer education.55
21.
The low power transition presents unique challenges given that many LPTVs do not
originate broadcasting. Because of this fact it will be extremely important to identify regional strategies
and to think creatively on how best to reach the consumers who will be affected by this transition.
Further, we should focus our consumer education efforts on markets where low power television is the
primary broadcast television medium. Consumers located in areas that are not served by full power
broadcast stations are the most likely to be negatively affected by the digital transition. Therefore, we
should consider whether to implement "targeted initiatives" for select communities nationwide to increase
awareness about the forthcoming low power digital transition, focusing on those markets with the largest
number of low power television viewers and "at-risk" populations such as citizens of rural areas and the


51 See 47 C.F.R. 73.3598(b) and (c); see also Implementation of DTV Delay Act, Third Report and Order and
Order on Reconsideration
, 24 FCC Rcd 3399, 3429, n. 156 (2009).
52 In the Further Notice, we sought comment on "whether this call center should be expanded, as it was for the full
power transition, with new or retrained staff and longer hours of operation to accommodate time differences across
the country?" Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13840.
53 PBS Comments at 6; LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 9.
54 Una Vez Mas Comments at 4; NTA Comments at 4.
55 Elizabeth Trinkle Comments at 7.
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elderly.56 Such initiatives could include staff contacts with these markets to speak with consumers,
representatives of local governments, schools, civic organizations, faith centers, or trade organizations.
Alternatively, we will consider whether to encourage the development of third-party "walk-in DTV help
centers" like those implemented by local broadcasters during the full power DTV transition.57 We agree
with Elizabeth Trinkle that targeted outreach procedures may help ensure that at-risk viewers most likely
to be affected are not unfairly discriminated against due to analog shutoff date.58
22.
Finally, we will provide guidance to consumers on how to prepare for the low power
television transition through the Commission's web site (www.fcc.gov) and the DTV transition web site
(www.dtv.gov). In particular, these web sites will include on-line maps of the type that we provided for
the full power television digital transition, to let consumers know which low power television signals will
be affected by the transition. In addition, CEA and CERC have offered to work with the FCC staff on
any specific consumer education undertakings that may be helpful.59 As was the case during the full
power digital transition, we will rely on these groups, as well as other industry groups to provide
marketplace information for consumers. For example, CERC continues to maintain an informal online
survey that shows that DTV converters, of the sort used successfully in the full power digital transition,
are readily available for purchase from every CERC member as well as from a large number of
commercial and private sellers.60 Such information will be an invaluable tool in helping to educate
consumers about the digital transition.

B.

Out-of-Core Transition Date

1.

December 31, 2011 Out-of-Core Transition Deadline

23.
To facilitate the clearing of the 700 MHz band (television channels 52-69) of low power
television broadcasters, we adopt the proposal in the Further Notice to establish

December 31, 2011

, as
the date by which all low power television stations must cease all operations (both analog and digital) on
channels 52-69. Unlike in-core low power operators, who have not faced Commission pressure to modify
their facilities, low power licensees operating on 700 MHz band channels have known for years that they
would have to clear the band. Fourteen years ago, the DTV Sixth Report and Order identified the core
DTV spectrum as consisting of those TV channels below Channel 52 and noted plans to recover channels
above 52 for other uses.61 Shortly thereafter, we notified low power licensees operating on channels 60-
69 that they would have to terminate operation on these channels because they were being reallocated for
use by commercial wireless and public safety entities.62 Likewise, in 2002 we notified low power
operators of the intention to recover channels 52-59 .63 We further emphasized our goal of clearing low


56 See "Acting FCC Chairman Copps to Visit Los Angeles in the Homestretch of the Digital Transition," News
Release
, June 8, 2009; see also "Commissioner Adelstein to Visit Albuquerque for DTV Outreach," News Release,
April 20, 2009.
57 See "Commission Provides Guidance to Broadcasters on Obligation to Publicize Walk-in DTV Help Centers,"
Public Notice, DA 09-807 (released April 10, 2009).
58 Elizabeth Trinkle Comments at 7.
59 CEA Comments at 7; CERC Comments at 2.
60 CERC Comments at 3.
61 DTV Sixth Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 14608-09 (1997).
62 See Reallocation of Television Channels 60-69, the 746-806 MHz Band, Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 22953
(1997).
63 See Reallocation and Service Rules for the 698-746 MHz Spectrum Band (Television Channels 52-59), Report
and Order
, 17 FCC Rcd 1022 (2002).
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power operators from the 700MHz band in the 2004 Digital LPTV Order, when we precluded the use of
out-of-core channels as digital companion channels except in very limited circumstances.64 In that Order,
we noted that we would require low power stations to convert to digital after completion of the full power
conversion in part so that out-of-core low power stations could locate in-core channels among the
spectrum surrendered by full service stations.65
24.
In January 2010, after the June 12, 2009 full power digital conversion date, the Video
Division began sending letters to licensees of out-of-core channel stations advising them of the need to
move to an in-core channel.66 Then, in September 2010, we released our Further Notice in this
proceeding proposing an out-of-core transition date of December 31, 2011, for which applications would
be due by an even earlier date - June 30, 2011.67 Thus, for many years out-of-core channel low power
television broadcasters have known that their use of the 700 MHz band was authorized only on an interim
basis, that their out-of-core facilities would ultimately be displaced by new wireless licensees, and that
shortly after the completion of the full power digital conversion they would be forced to vacate these
channels and find a permanent in-core channel.68
25.
In addition to abundant notice, out-of-core operators wanting and able to move to an in-
core channel have had sufficient time to begin the process. They have had nearly two years since
completion of the full power digital transition to find an in-core channel among spectrum surrendered by
full power stations, at least a year since receiving a letter from the FCC warning of the need to move to an
in-core channel, and at least nine months from the release of the Further Notice indicating the need to
move imminently. In fact, a large majority of low power out-of-core stations have already taken action to
transition to an in-core channel. We note that in 2004 there were over 1,300 low power stations operating
facilities on out-of-core channels, while today that number has decreased to just over 600. Of those, over
300 have already filed displacement applications for an in-core channel. Indeed, as expected, the return
of analog spectrum at the conclusion of the full power transition increased the availability of in-core
channels for out-of-core low power stations, making it easier for displaced stations to find an in-core
alternative. Given the ample warning provided out-of-core operators, we suspect that many of the
remaining stations have not filed for an in-core channel because no available channels exist. In addition,
some of these stations may have decided to forego converting to in-core digital facilities because they


64 Specifically, we noted that an incumbent may use channels 52-59 as digital companion channels only where it can
certify the unavailability of any suitable in-core channel. Further, we prohibited the use of channels 60-69 for a
digital companion channel. Id. at 19354-57. We also emphasized the secondary status of out-of-core low power
station to wireless providers by adopting provisions requiring these operators to cease operations immediately upon
notice of actual interference to wireless licensees, and within 120 days notice from a wireless licensee with which
the low power operator is predicted to cause interference. Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19354-60; 47 C.F.R.
74.703(f)(g).
65 Id. at 19338.
66 The letter warned stations that "the Commission will be taking steps this year to begin the process of clearing low
power television (LPTV) and TV translator stations off of the 700 MHz band (television channels 52-69)." The
letter continued that this "is an effort by the Commission to facilitate the deployment of new commercial wireless
and public safety facilities on these channels. Although no deadline has been set for low power television stations to
discontinue the use of 700 MHz channels, we urge you to begin the process of identifying an in-core channel
(channels 2-51 excluding channel 37) and filing a displacement application as soon as possible. We appreciate your
efforts to help clear the way for new uses on the 700 MHz band including the deployment of additional wireless
broadband facilities."
67 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13841.
68 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19354-60. See also CEA Comments at 10; AT&T Comments at 5;
Elizabeth Trinkle Comments at 9.
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have determined that the cost to do so outweighs the financial benefits of operating a digital low power
station. For example, this may be the case for a TV translator which provides a service being duplicated
by another facility. Low power stations therefore have known that use of the 700 MHz band was only on
a temporary basis and should have been expecting to be displaced at any time.69 Moreover, we agree with
AT&T that "low power television broadcasters should already be prepared to comply with the

December
31, 2011

out-of-core deadline" because they already are subject to displacement by 700 MHz licensees at
any time through procedures established in the 2004 LPTV Order.70
26.
Furthermore, the record in this proceeding indicates that continued use of 700 MHz
channels by low power television stations beyond the end of this year will interfere with the prompt
initiation of new wireless service on these channels by commercial wireless and public safety entities.71
AT&T comments that "one of Congress' primary goals in requiring broadcasters to convert from analog
to digital services and clear the 700 MHz band was to make spectrum available for advanced wireless
broadband services."72 Motorola believes that clearing the 700 MHz spectrum "will promote interference
free operations in the band and provide certainty to commercial and public safety network operators that
have made considerable investments" in the spectrum.73 Commenters cite examples of how continued use
of these channels by low power television stations will hamper the deployment of new services in the 700
MHz band.74 Motorola maintains that "it has now been several years since the FCC permitted temporary
operation (by low power television stations) and wireless carriers have made significant progress in
building out 700 MHz bands. Thus, the need for the spectrum to be cleared is increasingly important."75
AT&T concurs with this assessment noting a dramatic increase in network usage since 2004 when the
Commission permitted low power television stations to continue using the 700 MHz band on a temporary
basis.76 As examples of new commercial wireless and public safety being rapidly deployed in the 700
MHz band, CTIA notes that Verizon recently debuted its 4G LTE network in 38 markets in its 700 MHz
spectrum, AT&T has planned a mid-2011 LTE launch that will cover 70 to 75 million people, several
other carriers have also announced plans to soon deploy in the 700 MHz bands, and the Commission has
authorized public safety entities to launch statewide or local public safety broadband networks in the 700
MHz public safety broadband spectrum..77 CTIA argues that "all of these deployments will reap
considerable public benefits that could be adversely affected by the continued operation of LPTV stations
within channels 52 to 69."78 AT&T concludes that, "given the ever increasing demand for mobile


69 The Further Notice actually proposed an earlier deadline (June 30, 2011) for the filing of displacement
applications; however, as outlined below, we are adopting a later deadline of

September 1, 2011

.
70 AT&T Reply Comments at 3.
71 See Reallocation of Television Channels 60-69, the 746-806 MHz Band, Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 22953
(1997)(60-69 Reallocation Order) and Reallocation and Service Rules for the 698-746 MHz Spectrum Band
(Television Channels 52-59), Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd 1022 (2002) (52-59 Reallocation Order) (subsequent
histories omitted). See also CEA Comments at 10; AT&T Comments at 2-4; NPSTC Comments at 3; Verizon
Comments at 2; CTIA Comments at 9; Elizabeth Trinkle Comments at 9.
72 AT&T Comments at 3.
73 Motorola Comments at 3.
74 See, e.g., Motorola Comments at 10; AT&T Comments at 3-4; CTIA Comments at 9.
75 Motorola Comments at 10.
76 AT&T Comments at 3-4.
77 CTIA Comments at 9.
78 CTIA Comments at 9.
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broadband services, it is crucial that carriers like AT&T be able to fully utilize those spectrum assets that
they already have."79
27.
We agree with Motorola that for the 700 MHz band we must set an "aggressive but
achievable hard date . . . because consumer demand for wireless broadband is rapidly outpacing the
supply of additional spectrum."80 Furthermore, as Motorola notes, clearing low power television facilities
from the 700 MHz band will "remove the burden for public safety licensees and commercial carriers to
coordinate their activities with secondary users."81 NPSTC also points out that "from a public safety
perspective, whether a secondary LPTV or translator station is digital or analog is irrelevant; if it
interferes with an existing public safety primary operation or stands in the way of deploying such primary
operations in the 700 MHz band, expeditious steps must be taken to remove the conflict."82 In addition,
Verizon maintains that the immediate clearing of low power television facilities from the 700 MHz will
also "avoid impeding the ongoing deployment of 4G LTE in the 700 MHz."83 Verizon indicates that it
has been its experience that existing "notification and coordination process distracts personnel from their
primary goal of deploying 4G LTE," Verizon's new wireless service being deployed on the lower 700
MHz channels.84 We concur with these commenters that, in order to facilitate the prompt deployment of
new commercial wireless and public safety facilities on the 700 MHz band, it is crucial that we clear this
band of low power television operations by

December 31, 2011.

28.
Although we agree with Verizon that the out-of-core digital transition deadline should be
prior to the in-core transition deadline, we reject its proposal to set the out-of-core transition date in
September 2011.85 Verizon asserts that "incumbent LPTV licensees have already had ample notice that
they would need to reallocate," and that "an earlier deadline is also fully warranted to avoid impeding the
ongoing deployment of 4G LTE in the 700 MHz spectrum."86 We decline to adopt Verizon's proposed
deadline as it will not provide the approximately 300 remaining low power television out-core licensees
sufficient time from the conclusion of this proceeding to prepare and submit their displacement
applications and for the staff to complete processing of those applications.
29.
We reject the alternative proposals of NTA, LPTV Licensee Group, Venture, Harris,
Joint Commenters, and PBS that we either adopt a later out-of-core transition date or not adopt any
deadline for out-of-core stations to transition.87 These commenters maintain that the current notice
mechanism for low power stations to cease operations should they interfere with a 700 MHz commercial
wireless or public safety operator is working, and therefore the

December 31, 2011

out-of-core transition


79 AT&T Comments at 4.
80 Motorola Comments at 5.
81 Motorola Comments at 3; See also Verizon Comments at 3.
82 NPSTC Comments at 4.
83 Verizon Comments at 3.
84 Verizon Comments at 4.
85 See Verizon Comments at 2.
86 Id.
87 See NTA Comments at 3-4 (no deadline); LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 7 (no deadline); Venture
Comments at 5 (same deadline for in-core and out-of-core channels); Harris Reply Comments at 1 (deadline of
December 31, 2012 or six months after displacement application is approved); Joint Commenters Reply Comments
at 2 (same deadline for in-core and out-of-core channels); PBS Comments at 6-7 (deadline of December 31, 2010 or
six month after a displacement application is approved).
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date is not necessary.88 We continue to believe that the procedures adopted in the Digital LPTV Order89
to ensure that low power television facilities could be quickly cleared on an ad hoc basis when new 700
MHz licensees were ready to begin operations was the correct approach at the time. However, the
balance of interests has now changed since the release of the Digital LPTV Order, and, as we outlined
above, we believe that the rapid deployment of new commercial wireless and public safety facilities in the
700 MHz band now must take priority and will be best facilitated by clearing all remaining low power
television stations from the 700 MHZ band by

December 31, 2011

.
30.
We also decline to adopt LPTV Licensee Group's proposal that, rather than enforce a
transition date such at

December 31, 2011

, the Commission should only "set a firm deadline for all
LPTV stations on Channels 52-69 to apply for an in-core channel or else lose the priority now afforded to
displacement applications."90 LPTV Licensee Group submits that "If the new occupants are not ready,
however, then to force the LPTV station out is to leave spectrum fallow and again wasted."91 We
disagree that clearing the 700 MHz spectrum of low power television stations this year will result in
fallow spectrum as wireless operators "have made significant progress in deploying their networks" and
the 700 MHz spectrum is already the "home to hundreds of public safety narrowband systems."92
31.
We decline to adopt both Joint Commenters and Venture's proposal that the out-of-core
transition deadline should be the same as the in-core transition deadline.93 In support of its proposal, Joint
Commenters states that "requiring out-of-core channels to transition to an in-core channel prior to the
ultimate low power / translator digital transition deadline could result in stations having to transition three
times," which would be "a significant financial burden" on low power television licensees.94 We
appreciate Joint Commenters concern; however, low power television stations operating in the 700 MHZ
band have been on notice since the release of the Digital LPTV Order in 2004 that they are secondary to
commercial wireless and public safety operators.95 Thus, unlike low power television stations with in-
core channels that may never face displacement, low power television stations with out-of-core channels
have known that they would ultimately be displaced and should have been prepared to make such
adjustments. Additionally, the balance of interests favoring the return of analog spectrum weighs more
heavily against continued use of out-of-core channels than continued use of in-core channels by low
power operators, in light of the public interest in clearing the out-of-core spectrum as soon as possible to
facilitate the rollout of new wireless services.
32.
Finally, we decline to adopt both Harris and PBS' proposal that the out-of-core transition
deadline should be set for the later of December 31, 2012 or six months after the Commission grants the
out-of-core station's displacement application.96 PBS submits that construction cycles constrained by


88 See NTA Comments at 3; LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 7; Venture Comments at 5; PBS Comments at 7.
89 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19354-60.
90 LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 7.
91 Id. See also Venture Comments at 5 (Venture also states that "If the LPTV station is not causing another
authorized operator impermissible interference, there is no reason to set an arbitrary deadline for that station to cease
operations.")
92 AT&T Reply Comments at 3.
93 See Joint Commenters Comments at 2; Venture Comments at 5.
94 Joint Commenters Comments at 2.
95 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19354-60.
96 See Harris Comments at 1; National LPTV Organizations Comments at 6.
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budget cycles, seasons of the year, and operational capacity make it difficult for out-of-core low power
television licensees to meet the

December 31, 2011

out-of-core deadline. We believe that the out-of-core

December 31, 2011

deadline is appropriate because low power television out-of-core licensees will have
sufficient time before the onset of adverse weather conditions to complete construction of their new
facilities. As for concerns with budget and the operational capacity of construction teams, low power
television licensees operating in the 700 MHZ band have been on notice of these issues, and unlike low
power stations operating on in-core channels, should be prepared to vacate their existing channels as soon
as possible. The National LPTV Organizations also state that "the notion of a firm date to exit the out-of-
core spectrum without assurance that action will be taken on displacement applications by that date is
problematic." We understand National LPTV Organizations' concern as to whether displacement
applications will be processed in a timely manner. Therefore, to assure timely processing, the Media
Bureau will prioritize these displacement applications to ensure that that are timely acted upon. In
addition, stations may obtain an emergency STA to begin operating on their proposed in-core channel
while they await processing of their displacement application.
2.

September 1, 2011 Out-of-Core Displacement Application Deadline

33.
In order to complete the final clearing of the 700 MHz band of low power television
stations in an orderly fashion, we adopt a deadline of

September 1, 2011

for each out-of-core channel
low power television station to file a displacement application proposing an in-core (channels 2-51
excluding channel 37) digital channel. Although the Further Notice proposed June 30, 2011 as the
deadline,97 and a number of commenters support that deadline, 98 we are extending the proposed deadline
to ensure that the Commission has adequate time to comply with the review procedures of the Paperwork
Reduction Act of 199599 and to make the necessary preparations to accept the remaining low power
television out-of-core displacement applications. We believe that

September 1, 2011

provides time for
those remaining low power television stations to identify a feasible in-core channel for permanent use,
and to prepare and file a displacement application, considering the prior notice they have received.
Stations are encouraged to file their displacement applications as soon as possible and not to wait until the

September 1, 2011

deadline.100
34.
Those remaining low power television stations that are unable to identify a workable in-
core channel and submit a digital displacement application by

September 1, 2011

will be required to
cease operations altogether by

December 31, 2011

. These stations' out-of-core authorization shall be
cancelled. Any displacement application submitted by an out-of-core channel station after

September 1,
2011

will be dismissed.101 In addition, any outstanding construction permit (analog or digital) for an out-


97 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13841.
98 See, e.g., Verizon Comments at 2; Cellular South Comments at 6; AT&T Comments at 5; CTIA Comments at 10-
11; Elizabeth Trinkle Comments at 10.
99 Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-13, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.
100 We note that CTIA has filed a petition seeking, inter alia, a freeze on the filing of applications for new or
modified low power and full power stations on channel 51. See "Petition for Rulemaking and Request for
Licensing Freezes," filed by CTIA the Wireless Association and Rural Cellular Association, March 15, 2011.
That petition is currently pending before the Commission and will be considered in a future proceeding. See "Media
Bureau Seeks Comment on Petition for Rulemaking and Request for Licensing Freezes," Public Notice, RM 11626,
DA 11-562, released March 28, 2011. Applicants filing displacement applications should take this into account
when seeking an in-core channel to specify in their displacement application.
101 While applicants unable to meet the September 1, 2011 deadline for submission of an in-core channel digital
displacement application may, of course, seek a waiver pursuant to Section 1.3 of the rules, see 47 C.F.R. 1.3,
(continued....)
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of-core channel will be rescinded on

December 31, 2011

, and any pending application (analog or digital)
for an out-of-core channel will be dismissed on

December 31, 2011

if the permittee has not submitted a
digital displacement application by the

September 1, 2011

deadline. In the Further Notice, we sought
comment on how to address "hardship cases for those stations that, despite their best efforts, are unable to
identify an in-core channel and submit the required displacement application by

September 1, 2011

."102
Given the ample notice and opportunity that out-of-core channel stations have had to find an in-core
channel and submit a displacement application, we shall not extend the

September 1, 2011

application
submission deadline. We further note that displacement applications filed on or before the

September 1,
2011

deadline will receive expedited processing and will be granted as soon as possible in order that
stations can complete construction of their in-core facilities prior to the

December 31, 2011

out-of-core
transition date. Displacement digital construction permits for in-core channels shall receive a

September
1, 2015

expiration date similar to all other digital low power television construction permits granted after
the effective date of this order. However, we emphasize that no stations operating on an out-of-core
channel shall be permitted to continue operating their out-of-core facilities beyond the

December 31,
2011

transition date even if construction of their in-core digital facilities is not yet complete. So long as
they filed a displacement application for an in-core channel by the

September 1, 2011

filing deadline,
such stations will retain the construction permit for their in-core channel, but will be required to remain
silent after

December 31, 2011

while construction of their digital in-core facilities continues.103
3.

Notification and Termination Provisions

35.
To further facilitate clearance of the 700 MHz band, we adopt our proposal to extend the
notification and termination provisions for digital LPTV and TV translator facilities in the 700 MHz band
contained in Section 74.703(g) of the rules104 to analog low power television facilities in the 700 MHz


(...continued from previous page)
applicants will be expected to comply with the December 31, 2011 deadline for all LPTV stations to cease
operations in the 700 MHz bands.
102 Further Notice, 24 FCC Rcd at 13841.
103 Stations should be mindful of Section 312(g) of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 312(g), which provides
that: "If a broadcasting station fails to transmit broadcast signals for any consecutive 12-month period, then the
station license granted for the operation of that broadcast station expires at the end of that period, notwithstanding
any provision, term, or condition of the license to the contrary, except that the Commission may extend or reinstate
such station license if the holder of the station license prevails in an administrative or judicial appeal, the applicable
law changes, or for any other reason to promote equity and fairness. Any broadcast license revoked or terminated in
Alaska in a proceeding related to broadcasting via translator, microwave, or other alternative signal delivery is
reinstated."
104 Section 74.703(g) provides that:
An existing or future wireless licensee in the 700 MHz bands may notify (certified mail,
return receipt requested), a digital low power TV or TV translator operating on the same
channel or first adjacent channel of its intention to initiate or change wireless operations
and the likelihood of interference from the low power TV or translator station within its
licensed geographic service area. The notice should describe the facilities, associated
service area and operations of the wireless licensee with sufficient detail to permit an
evaluation of the likelihood of interference. Upon receipt of such notice, the digital
LPTV or TV translator licensee must cease operation within 120 days unless: (1) it
obtains the agreement of the wireless licensee to continue operations, (2) the
commencement or modification of wireless service is delayed beyond that period (in
which case the period will be extended), or (3) the Commission stays the effect of the
interference notification, upon request.
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band. These provisions, established in the Digital LPTV Order,105 allow for a primary wireless licensee in
the 700 MHz band to notify affected digital low power television stations of its intent to initiate or change
operations. Upon receipt of such notice, the digital low power television station must cease operation of
any interference-causing facility within 120 days, unless it obtains the agreement of the primary licensee
to continue operations.
36.
Since the Commission adopted these provisions in 2004, new wireless licenses have been
informally using them to notify analog LPTV and TV translator stations in the 700 MHz band of their
intent to initiate or modify their service and to request that they terminate operations. Verizon, Cellular
South, NPSTC, and CTIA all support formally extending the notification and termination provisions to
analog low power television facilities in the 700 MHz band and no commenter opposed our proposal.106
For example, NPSTC explains that "from a public safety perspective, whether a secondary low power
television station is digital or analog is irrelevant; if it interferes with an existing public safety primary
operation or stands in the way of deploying such primary operations in the 700 MHz band, expeditious
steps must be taken to remove the conflict."107 Furthermore, CTIA comments that "by extending this
framework to analog stations, the Commission will enable 700 MHz licensees to obtain rapid access to
their licensed spectrum."108 We conclude that extension of the notification and termination provisions to
analog low power television facilities will facilitate the clearing of the 700 MHz band in advance of the

December 31, 2011

out-of-core deadline.

C.

Increase in Power Levels for VHF Channels

37.
In the Further Notice, we stated that, "although analog stations in the low power
television services operate primarily in the UHF band and their digital facilities operate exclusively in the
UHF band, in view of spectrum shortages, and considering the more limited service area and often rural
locations of these stations, we seek comment on whether VHF channels, which are now underutilized,
accompanied by additional power, provide a viable alternative for continued operation."109 Currently the
power limit for low power VHF channels is 300 watts, whereas for UHF channels it is 15 kilowatts.110 As
a result of the full power digital television transition, some full power stations on VHF channels have
experienced reception problems and such problems have not been alleviated even by allowing these
stations to operate with the maximum power permitted under the full power television rules. We expect
that the same or even worse problems may arise when low power television stations operating on VHF
channels convert to digital given the fact that low power stations operate with considerably less power
than full power stations. To prevent such problems, we are modifying our rules to permit low power
stations operating on VHF channels 2-13 to operate with up to 3 kilowatts of power, which is the
maximum power such stations are permitted to operate with in analog. We decline the suggestion of
some commenters to increase the power limit for low power television UHF channels and we retain the
existing 15 kilowatts for these channels.111 At this power level, low power television stations on UHF
channels should be able to continue to provide coverage to their community of license without problems.


105 See Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19355 19557.
106 Verizon Comments 2-3; Cellular South Comments 6-7; NPSTC Comments 3-5; CTIA
Comments 9-11.
107 NPSTC Comments at 4 -5.
108 CTIA Comments at 11.
109 See Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13848.
110 See 47 C.F.R. 74.735.
111 See Lotus Comments at 6; Rincon Reply Comments at 2.
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38.
We received numerous comments in favor of increasing the VHF power levels for digital
low power television stations.112 NTA notes that increasing the limit to 3 kilowatts would help overcome
existing reception problems and make the VHF bands more useable for low power service, particularly as
a new channel for stations that may be displaced as a result of the Commission's channel repacking
proposal.113 On the other hand, NPR opposes any increase in power for digital channel 6 noting that an
increase in power would increase the likelihood of additional interference to adjacent noncommercial
educational (NCE) radio stations.114 We disagree. As NPR noted, we authorize digital low power
television stations on a secondary basis. Therefore, regardless of their power level, low power television
stations are required to protect the first adjacent NCE radio stations if there is actual interference to these
stations.
39.
We decline to adopt the proposal set forth by Lotus TV and LPTV Licensee Group which
argue that the Commission should use its existing analog protected contours for digital stations.115
Changing the protected contours for digital stations would not help to resolve the issue of reception of
stations operating on VHF channels. Furthermore, when we determined the protected contours for the
low power television service, we noted that the values for contours that were adopted would yield digital
low power television service areas comparable in size to analog low power television stations' service
areas.116 This is both a logical and a desirable outcome. Therefore, we find that changing the protected
contours for digital low power television stations, as proposed by Lotus TV and LPTV Licensee Group, is
neither a useful nor a necessary step to aid these stations in their transition to digital.117

D.

Dismissal of Analog Applications

40.
We adopt our proposal to dismiss all unamended applications for new analog low power
television facilities that remain pending after the May 24, 2010 deadline to amend these applications to
specify operation on digital facilities. As indicated in the Further Notice,118 the staff notified all pending
applicants for new analog low power facilities that they must amend their pending applications to specify
digital operations by May 24, 2010, and that the staff would not process those analog applications that
were not amended by the deadline.119 Some applicants did not comply with the staff directive and their
analog applications remain unamended. We agree with commenters who support dismissal of these long
pending analog applications.120 Dismissal will further the digital low power television transition by
encouraging stations to seek new digital facilities. As Cellular South asserts "any other course of action
would frustrate the expeditious transition of LPTV stations to digital and impose an unnecessary
workload on the staff processing applications for analog facilities that would be required to convert to


112 See, e.g., NTA Comments at 7 and Reply Comments at 15-16; LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 10; Lotus
Comments at 5-6; LPTV Entrepreneurs Comments at 8; Venture Comments at 4-5; Folse Comments at 2; Rincon
Reply Comments at 2; Renard Reply Comments at 3; Venture Reply Comments at 8; Joint Commenters Reply
Comments at 4.
113 See NTA Comments at 7.
114 NPR Comments at 8-9.
115 See Lotus TV Comments at 57; LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 10.
116 See Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19359-60.
117 See also opposing comments of NTA at 17-18.
118 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13842-43.
119 See "Applicants for New Low Power Television and TV Translator Stations Must Convert to Digital By May
24, 2010," Public Notice, 25 FCC Rcd 2817 (MB 2010).
120 See Harris Comments at 9; Cellular South Comments at 8; CTIA Comments at 6; Venture Reply Comments at 7.
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digital in a very short time period."121
41.
We are not persuaded by commenters who oppose this approach. LPTV Entrepreneurs
asserts that dismissing the pending applications for new low power analog facilities will impose a heavy
financial burden on "LPTV applicants that have spent thousands of dollars in legal and filing fees only to
be shut out of the opportunity originally intended for LPTV to serve the public via broadcast or other
ancillary services."122 Although we recognize LPTV Entrepreneurs' concern, all applicants seeking
authority to operate new analog stations were afforded a sixty-day opportunity to amend their applications
by May 24, 2010 to request authority to broadcast on digital facilities.123 Those applicants whose analog
applications remain pending failed to amend them by the May 24, 2010 deadline. Furthermore, low
power television applicants have been on notice since 2004, when the Commission released the Digital
LPTV Order,
124 that low power television service would transition to digital broadcasting "at some fixed
time after the deadline for full-service television stations," and that new analog station applications
therefore would become obsolete.125 Airwaves argues that the filing freeze announced in the Further
Notice
should not apply to communities that demonstrate a need for local origination.126 The Further
Notice
already affords applicants relief from the filing freeze through a waiver process. A modification of
the filing freeze is therefore unnecessary. As provided in the Further Notice, applicants may request a
waiver of the freeze if they believe a waiver is necessary for technical or other reasons to maintain quality
service to the public, such as when zoning restrictions preclude tower construction at a particular site or
when unforeseen events, such as extreme weather events or other extraordinary circumstances require
relocation to a new tower site.127 As with any request for waiver of our rules, a request for waiver of the
freeze will be granted only upon a showing of good cause and when grant of the waiver will serve the
public interest.128

E.

Surrender of Channels

1.

Procedures for Surrender of Channels

42.
In order to ensure that all stations are prepared to meet the

September 1, 2015

digital
transition date, we adopt our proposal and require stations that have not already taken steps to convert to
notify the Commission at least 30 days prior to the deadline of their decision to either: (1) "flash cut"
their existing analog facility to digital (at which time their analog license will be replaced by a new digital
license) or (2) to surrender their analog station license and continue operating their digital companion
channel.129 Stations that have already completed their digital conversion will not be required to submit a
notification. Such notifications will ensure that stations settle on their final digital conversion plan a
sufficient amount of time before the final transition date while also ensuring an orderly digital transition.
Finally, we delegate to the Media Bureau the authority to determine the timetable and procedures for


121 Cellular South Comments at 8.
122 LPTV Entrepreneurs Comments at 9.
123 See "Applicants for New Low Power Television and TV Translator Stations Must Convert to Digital By May
24, 2010," Public Notice, 25 FCC Rcd 2817 (MB 2010); see also Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13842-3.
124 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19337.
125 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19338.
126 See Airwaves Comments at 4.
127 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13843.
128 Id.
129 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13844.
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these notifications.
43.
We agree with those commenters that support our simple notification approach, which
does not require prior Commission approval for the termination of analog service.130 Stations in the low
power television service currently are permitted to terminate their analog operations and transition to
digital without prior Commission approval. We see no need to change this policy and we believe that
stations should continue to have the flexibility to decide when to terminate their analog operation and
begin digital operation. As H&D notes, our simplified approach will allow low power stations to
immediately decrease their operational costs, and will free up additional channels for digital displacement
of out-of-core stations.131 While we initially contemplated that most stations would operate their analog
channels and digital companion channels in parallel until the completion of the low power transition, we
agree with H&D that there is no need to require continued operation of analog facilities beyond what
individual stations deem necessary.132 Many low power stations have already completed their transition,
as have many of their viewers.133 Therefore, it is not necessary to require low power stations to make a
public interest showing to permit the termination of analog operations prior to the

September 1, 2015

deadline. Instead, we find that a simple notification only by those stations that have not converted to
digital is all that is necessary so that the Commission can track the overall digital transition and return of
channels (in addition to the viewer notifications that we outline later).
44.
We also agree with the Joint Commenters that low power stations are the most familiar
with their own local markets and should be permitted to transition prior to the

September 1, 2015

deadline if they believe their audience has sufficiently transitioned to digital televisions.134 We further
agree that allowing stations to transition as they see fit makes sense from an economic perspective
because it will allow them to avoid "incur(ring) the cost of broadcasting on an analog channel if
individuals are not watching the station."135 We find it unnecessary to adopt PBS' proposed requirement
that stations with companion channels must provide 30 days prior notice to the Media Bureau before they
terminate their analog channels and operate only on their digital companion channel.136 Prior notification
to the Commission is unnecessary for the reasons stated above and would serve no purpose while
imposing an undue burden on stations.
45.
At the same time, as long as a station desires to do so, it should be allowed to continue
providing analog service until the final

September 1, 2015

transition deadline. Thus we reject NTA's
proposal that we require stations currently operating digital companion channels to discontinue analog
operations within 18 months of the release of this Second Report and Order or not later than 18 months
after filing a license application for their digital channel. Stations may need to continue operating their
analog channel while they develop their digital audience or because their analog facilities operate as a link
for their translator network. Moreover, as explained above, we have determined that low power stations
should have the opportunity to postpone their digital transition until after the Commission completes any
future spectrum reallocation, assuming a reallocation is completed before 2015. Therefore, it is
imperative that stations have as much time as necessary to operate both analog and digital companion


130 See, e.g., Venture Comments at 5-6; Joint Commenters Comments at 3; H&D Comments at 3.
131 H&D Comments at 3.
132 Id.
133 Id.
134 Joint Commenters Comments at 3.
135 Id.
136 PBS Comments at 8-9.
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channels before the final transition deadline. Requiring stations already operating on digital companion
channels to terminate analog operation prior to the

September 1, 2015

deadline could undermine the
success of their digital transition. With respect to Cordillera's request that the staff complete processing
of digital, on-channel, flash-cut minor change applications within ten business days of submission so long
as there is no expansion of proposed service or international coordination requirement,137 we direct the
Media Bureau to process and grant as quickly as possible those low power television digital applications
that are accurate and complete, and that do not require international coordination.
2.

Requirement for Timely Construction of Digital Facilities

46.
We adopt our proposed policy whereby, if an entity holds a construction permit for an
unbuilt analog and unbuilt digital companion channel, and the analog permit expires and is forfeited, the
digital construction permit shall be forfeited notwithstanding the later expiration date on the digital
construction permit.138 We believe that adoption of this policy is necessary to ensure that low power
television stations complete construction of their proposed facilities in a timely fashion and to ensure the
efficient use of valuable television spectrum. Otherwise, an entity that obtained an analog construction
permit with a three-year construction period could effectively extend the duration of that permit by
obtaining a corresponding digital construction permit with a deadline beyond the one on its underlying
analog permit. Furthermore, for the reasons discussed below, we continue to believe that this approach is
consistent with our established policy that analog and digital authorizations are part of single, unified
authorization.
47.
Alternatively, if a station completes construction of its digital facilities (whether a flash-
cut or digital companion channel) and begins operating those facilities and files a license application, we
will permit the station to forego construction of its unbuilt analog station so long as digital construction is
completed before the expiration date of the analog permit. We adopt this approach to encourage stations
to complete their digital facilities and begin operating in digital as soon as possible.
48.
Harris disagrees with our approach and maintains that an outstanding digital construction
permit should not be forfeited because of the expiration of an associated analog construction permit that
was not utilized.139 Harris believes that the holder of an active digital construction permit should be
allotted the time to build-out their digital facility as specified in the digital permit.140 Harris suggests that
the Commission send a letter of inquiry to the holder of an expired analog construction permit but active
associated digital construction permit seeking written confirmation that it still plans on building out a
digital facility within the timeframe specified by its digital construction permit.141 Should the
Commission fail to receive confirmation from the permit holder within a reasonable period of time, for
example 60 days, then Harris recommends that the Commission initiate a proceeding to rescind the digital
construction permit.142 We decline to adopt Harris' approach as it runs contrary to our concept of a
single, unified station license and is inconsistent with the policy adopted for the full power television
digital transition.143 Although a station's digital companion channel construction permit may possess a


137 Cordillera Comments at 3.
138 See Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13844.
139 Harris Comments at 9.
140 Id. at 10.
141 Id.
142 Id.
143 See Remedial Steps For Failure to Comply With Digital Television Construction Schedule, Report and Order, 18
FCC Rcd 7174, 7183-4 and n. 25 (2003).
23

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FCC 11-110

later expiration date than the station's underlying analog construction permit, the Commission has always
been clear that the station's two authorizations are part of a single, unified license. For example, when
the Commission adopted its rules permitting stations to obtain a digital companion channel, it stated:
"[A]s is the case with full-service television broadcasters' paired DTV channel, the low power
broadcaster's companion digital channel will be considered part of its station's analog license...."144
Therefore, to be consistent with this policy, a low power station that does not complete construction of its
digital facilities prior to the expiration date of its unbuilt analog construction permit shall forfeit both its
analog and digital construction permits.145
3.

Notice to Viewers

49.
In order to ensure that viewers of low power television stations are aware of the
impending termination of analog service and stations' transition to digital operation on or before the

September 1, 2015

transition deadline, we require all stations in the low power television service that
terminate their analog service after the effective date of the rule provisions in this proceeding, to provide
notification to their viewers of their planned termination of analog service and transition to digital.
Stations that have already terminated analog service and begun operating in digital prior to the effective
date of the rule changes in this proceeding shall not be subject to this requirement. For those stations with
the technical ability to locally-originate programming,146 viewer notification must be done on the air at a
time when the highest number of viewers is watching. As for those stations that lack the technical ability
to locally originate programming, or conclude that airing of viewer notifications would pose some sort of
a hardship, they may notify their viewers by some other reasonable means, e.g. publication of a
notification in a local newspaper or by contacting the originating station to relay a crawl or service
advisory to the communities that would be affected. We believe stations are best suited to determine the
most effective means of reaching their viewers, and we shall therefore rely on their good faith efforts to
decide the format of local notification.
50.
Liberty, PBS, and Venture believe that low power television stations should notify their
viewers prior to their termination of analog service, but argue that notification should not be
mandatory.147 PBS notes that, "because their own viewers are at stake, licensees have ample incentive to
notify viewers in advance of their conversion to all-digital broadcasts."148 Similarly, Liberty states that
"stations that can feasibly inform their viewers of the impending digital transition will do so" because "no
station wishes to lose viewers as the result of an inability to find the station after DTV transition."149


144 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19390, n. 362.
145 See Malcolm G. Stevenson, Esq., 25 FCC 17042 (Vid. Div. 2010) (by failing to construct its digital facility
within its original three-year analog construction period, applicant "voluntarily choose to deprive the public of
digital television service"); see also Alaska Broadcast Television, Inc., BPET-19960916KE, released March 21,
2011 (applicant "required to build out its analog facilities by expiration of the three-year analog construction permit,
or toll the construction deadline, to maintain its digital authorization").
146 All stations in the low power television service are permitted to originate some amount of local programming,
such as public service announcements (PSAs). See 47 C.F.R. 74.731(f) and (g) and 47 C.F.R. 74.701(f). PSAs
originated by TV translators are limited to 30 seconds each and not more than once per hour. Class A stations are
required by the terms of their license to air local programming. See Establishment of a Class A Television Service,
Report and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 6355 (2000).
147 See PBS Comments at 9; Venture Comments at 5; Liberty Comments at 7; see also Una Vez Mas Comments at
4.
148 PBS Comments at 9.
149 Liberty Comments at 7.
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Venture suggests that both full power and low power television stations participate in a voluntary public
service campaign to encourage viewers to rescan their digital tuners and/or converter boxes in the months
leading up to and following any low power television digital transition deadline.150 Although we agree
that it is in the stations' best interests to notify viewers of their impending termination of analog service,
we conclude that notification should be mandatory to ensure that consumers are prepared when stations
terminate their analog service. On the other hand, we also agree that there is no need to mandate "an
extensive set of informative announcements nor to dictate in detail the content of such announcements"151
since stations know their individual communities and how best to reach their viewers. We provided
options for full power stations to best decide how to inform their viewers when we adopted consumer
education requirements in conjunction with the full power television transition, and we believe similar
flexibility should be afforded low power television stations as well.152

F.

Class A Television Transition To Digital

51.
We adopt our proposal, as supported by most commenters, to allow Class A stations to
choose to either "flash cut" to digital on their analog channel or to operate on their digital companion
channel while preserving their primary, protected status for the channel they choose to retain for digital
operations. 153 We agree with Joint Commenters that it is in the public interest to provide Class A
licensees a method to select their digital channels because it will give them the opportunity to "evaluate
the market situation and make a determination which channel would provide the best, interference-free
service to the public."154
52.
We will not adopt, however, the procedures that we proposed in the Further Notice for
Class A stations to secure primary, protected status on their converted digital channel.155 In the Further
Notice
, we proposed that Class A stations file a minor change application to transfer their primary status
from their analog channel to their desired digital channel (whether through on-channel flash cut or to their
digital companion channel).156 We also proposed to require these stations to certify that their proposed
facilities meet all Class A interference protection requirements.157 As Liberty points out, for Class A
stations that have already obtained their digital authorization, the submission of another minor change
application is unnecessary.158 Since the release of the 2004 Digital LPTV Order, we have allowed Class
A stations to "flash cut their analog channel to digital operation at any time and retain their primary
regulatory status."159 In fact, the staff has granted many such flash-cut applications for Class A stations
and these stations have already transferred their primary status to their digital facilities. There is no need


150 Venture Comments at 5.
151 Liberty Comments at 7.
152 See DTV Consumer Education Initiative, Report and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 4134 (2008) (DTV Consumer
Education Report and Order
).
153 See LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 2, 8; Harris Comments at 10; Entravision Comments at 11-12; Cohen
Comments at 3; Venture at 6; Airwaves Comments at 2; NTA Reply Comments at 1; Joint Commenters Reply
Comments at 4.
154 Joint Commenters Reply Comments at 4.
155 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13844.
156 Id.
157 Id.
158 See Liberty Comments at 6.
159 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19379.
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for these stations to file another minor change application. Class A stations that choose to pursue a flash-
cut conversion in the future can simply follow our existing procedures.160
53.
We conclude that the procedures proposed in the Further Notice are also unnecessary for
Class A stations choosing to transfer their primary, protected status from their analog facility to their
digital companion channel facility. Consequently, we adopt a simpler, more streamlined approach as
suggested by Liberty.161 Liberty proposes that "Class A stations seeking to continue post-transition
operations on their current digital channels should be allowed simply to file a license application" to
change their digital companion channel to Class A status.162 Liberty explains that "Class A stations
operating a digital companion channel have already sought a construction permit for such facilities, have
built and, in many cases, licensed them, and are operating them."163 Liberty concludes that "the only
change for such stations is the addition of the Class A designation."164 As for the requirement that Class
A stations certify that their proposed facilities meet all Class A interference protection requirements, such
certification can be done in the license application. We agree with Liberty that allowing these Class A
stations to forgo filing a minor change application and only file a license application to transfer their
primary protected status to their digital companion channel facilities will save Class A licensees valuable
resources.165 Therefore, Class A stations choosing to transfer their primary status from their analog
channel to their digital companion channel will be required to file FCC Form 302-CA (Application for
Class A Television Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License) and certify that their digital
companion channel facilities meet all Class A interference protection and eligibility requirements.
54.
We will not adopt NTA's proposal to set a final deadline by which Class A stations
would be required to "irrevocably select their final DTV channel."166 Although we adopted a similar
"channel election" approach in the full power television transition, channel election would serve no
purpose for Class A stations because, unlike full power television stations, stations in the low power
television stations are not allocated pursuant to a Table of Allotments and, as a result, there is no need to
formally track channel elections.

G.

Ancillary and Supplementary Services

55.
We adopt our proposal in the Further Notice to widen the scope of our ancillary and
supplementary services rule167 to include low power television station permittees operating pursuant to a
digital Special Temporary Authorization (STA).168 Full power television licensees and permittees
operating pursuant to STA as well as low power television licensees are already subject to this rule.169 To
ensure compliance with the mandate of Section 336(e) of the Communications Act,170 that the public


160 See Establishment of a Class A Television Service, Report and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 6355 (2000).
161 See Liberty Comments at 6.
162 Liberty Comments at 6.
163 Id.
164 Id.
165 Liberty Comments at 6.
166 See NTA Reply Comments at 11.
167 47 C.F.R. 73.624(g).
168 See Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13848.
169 See 47 C.F.R. 73.624(g).
170 47 U.S.C. 336(e).
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recover a portion of the value of the public spectrum resource made available for commercial use, as well
as to avoid unjust enrichment of broadcasters that use that resource, we conclude that low power
television permittees operating pursuant to an STA also should be subject to this rule. Therefore, low
power television permittees operating pursuant to an STA will be required to file the annual Ancillary and
Supplementary Services Report (FCC Form 317) beginning December 1, 2011, and will be required to
pay a fee of five percent of the gross revenues of any ancillary and supplementary services they provide.
We find that such a requirement will enable the Commission to assess the nature of ancillary and
supplementary services, if any, that are provided by low power television permittees and the extent to
which feeable services are offered.171
56.
As discussed further below, Harris, SmartComm and Venture disagree that all low power
television permittees operating pursuant to digital STA should be subject to the ancillary and
supplementary requirements.172 Airwaves believes that low power television permittees should be
allowed to provide ancillary and supplemental services without a fee, so long as they continue to meet
their obligation to provide at least one channel of free over-the-air television service.173 Harris argues that
the Commission should not restrict the development of new innovative broadcast offerings by placing
fees on ancillary and supplementary services revenue earned by low power television stations operating
pursuant to a digital STA.174 While we seek to encourage innovative service offerings by low power
television stations and to further the financial wellbeing of these stations, we are mindful of our statutory
obligation under Section 336(e) to recover a portion of the value of the public spectrum resource made
available for commercial use and avoid unjust enrichment of broadcasters that use that resource. We
believe that the imposition of the fee for ancillary digital revenues should not depend on the type of
authorization that covers the digital operation.175 Therefore, in order to accurately assess the extent of
such services and ensure that we recover a portion of the value of the spectrum used, low power television
permittees operating pursuant to digital STA will be subject to the ancillary and supplementary
requirements.
57.
SmartComm argues that low power television broadcasters have smaller coverage areas
and more rural coverage areas, and thus the financial impact of a five percent ancillary service fee will be
felt to a much greater degree than by full power broadcasters.176 SmartComm asks that the Commission
exempt all low power broadcast licensees from the five percent ancillary service fee obligation or exempt
all low power television ancillary and supplementary services from the fee for revenues below a certain
threshold (analogous to the de minimis exemption to the Universal Service Fund for carriers with a
calculated contribution of less than $10,000 per year).177 Low power television licensees are already
subject to the Section 336(e) reporting and fee requirements, and the Further Notice did not propose
revisiting this requirement. To the extent that SmartComm seeks to do so, its comments are beyond the


171 In the 2004 Digital LPTV Order, the Commission added LPTV, TV translators and Class A television stations to
Section 73.624(g). See Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19391; see also 69 FR 69325 (Nov. 29, 2004). That
rule change is reflected in the revised version of Section 73.624(g) set forth in Appendix B.
172 Harris Comments at 2; SmartComm Comments at 2-3 and 6-7; Venture Comments at 6; Airwaves Comments at
2.
173 Airwaves Comments at 2.
174 Harris Comments at 2.
175 See LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 10, note 14.
176 SmartComm Comments at 2-3 and 6-7.
177 Id.
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scope of this proceeding.178 To the extent SmartComm seeks only to avert the application of the ancillary
and supplementary fee requirements on low power television permittees, we have explained above why
we disagree. We therefore reject SmartComm's proposal.

H.

Minor Change Definition

58.
To ensure that low power television applications for "minor change" remain just that, and
to ensure that stations continue to provide coverage to viewers that rely on their service, we adopt our
proposal and expand the "30-mile" rule currently applied to digital displacement applications to all low
power television modification applications.179 In the Digital LPTV Order, the Commission changed the
minor change processing rule for digital low power television displacement applications filed to replace
channels that are displaced by full-service NTSC or DTV station or by a 700 MHz commercial wireless
or public safety operation.180 The rule was changed so that such applications may propose a change in
transmitter site of no more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the reference coordinates of the existing
station's community of license, as provided in Section 76.53 of the rules.181 The Commission found that
such a change would help to prevent applicants from using the displacement process to propose greater
than needed modifications to their facilities.182Outside of the displacement context, low power television
stations can file any modification application (both analog and digital) as a "minor change" as long as
there is contour overlap between the proposal and the station's existing facilities.183 There is no limitation
as to how far a station may relocate its transmitter site, as long as some contour overlap is demonstrated.
Therefore, a station is able to frustrate the intent of the minor change rule by proposing a modified facility
that is a substantial distance from the station's existing location while showing only a very slight amount
of contour overlap. Viewers of such a station, who have come to rely on its service, may be left behind.
Furthermore, because low power television minor change applications are not subject to a filing fee,
stations are able to avoid paying an application filing fee when they seek consent to make these changes.
Therefore, we believe that expansion of the 30-mile rule to all modification applications (not just
displacement applications) is necessary to enforce the original intent of the minor change rule.
59.
For these reasons, we believe that expansion of the 30-mile rule to all modification
applications (not just displacement applications) is necessary to enforce the original intent of the minor
change rule. Accordingly, we expand application of the rule so that any digital low power television
modification that proposes a change in transmitter site of greater than 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the
reference coordinates of the existing station's antenna location will be considered a new proposal for low
power television stations. In effect, we will continue to treat transmitter site changes that are truly minor
as a minor change and those that involve a substantial relocation of facilities will be deemed a major
change. We agree with Harris that the 30-mile rule "provides LPTV stations with sufficient flexibility to
adjust their transmitter site, if necessary, without violating the intent of the Commission's minor change


178 As for SmartComm's suggestion that the Commission should clarify that at least a portion of the LPDTV
spectrum can be leased to wireless providers, we find this topic to be beyond the scope of this proceeding.
SmartComm Comments at 6-7. Similarly, Venture's proposal that the Commission classify analog operations on
channel 6 post digital transition as an ancillary or supplemental service such that its revenue would be subject to a
5% fee is also outside the scope of this proceeding. Venture Comments at 6.
179 See Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13847.
180 Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19377.
181 Id. at 19376.
182 Id.
183 See 47 C.F.R. 73.3572(a)II (analog) and 74.787(b) (digital).
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rule."184
60.
A number of commenters expressed concern that expansion of the 30-mile rule to all
modification applications may adversely affect low power stations' ability to make needed changes to
their facilities.185 For example, PBS maintains that translator stations in Western states "may need to
make use of the existing minor change rule, or may need a waiver of the 30-mile rule, "in order to adjust
their disparate translator setup to avoid interference from and with other new electromagnetic spectrum
uses."186 LPTV Licensee Group requests that the Commission permit a waiver of the rule "if a station is
displaced and cannot survive without moving more than 30 miles."187 Venture points out that channel
congestion in many markets makes locating a useable allotment difficult for many low power television
operators.188 Joint Commenters argue that this congestion will be exacerbated by implementation of the
Broadband Plan and the mandatory conversion to digital.189 Venture and Joint Commenters are
concerned that restricting a minor change to within 30 miles from the transmitter site will further limit the
options available for low power television stations to construct a viable, usable facility.190 Airwaves
argues that the low power industry is still learning about digital television and that stations may need to
move their facilities to "put a bigger signal into the community to be served."191 One Ministries points out
that "LPTV stations are often owned by minorities and educational organizations that don't have
exhaustive financial resources, and it is often necessary to move more than 30 miles to find economically
priced tower space and to cover sufficient population to make LPTV stations economically viable or to
avoid causing interference to other TV stations."192
61.
It is not our intent to preclude low power television stations from making necessary
changes to their facilities, especially changes that are needed to ensure a station's continued operation as a
result of displacement or spectrum reallocation. Expansion of the 30-mile rule will not preclude stations
from seeking needed facility modifications. Stations may continue to propose necessary modifications,
but some proposals will be deemed "major changes" necessitating a waiver if an applicant seeks to have
its application processed as a minor change. As suggested by the commenters, we will provide full and
expedited consideration to requested waivers of the 30-mile rule to ensure that stations are able to make
those modifications necessary to ensure continued operation as a result of interference, displacement or
reallocation of their operating channel. Furthermore, the technical rule changes adopted in this
proceeding, such as to permit greater operating power on VHF channels, to permit stations to specify the
actual vertical patterns of their proposed facilities and to allow use of full power DTV emission masks by
low power stations, will provide low power stations with the additional tools to engineer facilities so that
they can provide continued service to their viewers within the confines of the 30-mile rule.


184 Harris Comments at 10. We note that stations must complete construction and file a license application for each
facility authorized by a minor modification before they may propose a further minor modification if the combined
changes would not comply with the 30-mile rule.
185 See, e.g., PBS Comments at 9-10; LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 10.
186 PBS Comments at 10.
187 LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 10.
188 Venture Comments at 6 and Reply Comments at 8.
189 Joint Commenters Reply Comments at 4.
190 Venture Comments at 6-7 and Joint Commenters Reply Comments at 4.
191 Airwaves Comments at 3.
192 One Ministries Comments at 2.
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62.
Cellular South maintains that the 30-mile rule is "more liberal than the minor change
rules for other broadcast services" and suggests that the Commission require low power applicants to
"propose overlap of at least 35 percent of their existing service area" and "limit the distance an LPTV
station could move its transmitter site on a minor change application to 15 miles, rather than 30 miles
from the reference coordinates of the community of license."193 Cellular South believes that such
requirements "would insure a continued connection with [a station's] designated community of license
and service area while still affording LPTV licensees substantial flexibility." We disagree that further
limitations to low power digital modifications are necessary. The 30-mile limitation for displacement
applications has been in place for over six years and has worked well to ensure that applicants propose
only necessary modifications to complete the displacement process.194 We believe that expansion of the
30-mile rule to all modifications will serve the same purpose. To further restrict station modifications, as
suggested by Cellular South, may result in stations being unable to make changes necessary to their
continued existence and result in the loss of service. We therefore reject Cellular South's proposal.
63.
Finally, at the suggestion of duTreil, we clarify that, in addition to the proposed 30-mile
limit, the protected contours of the station's existing and proposed facilities must also overlap.195

I.

Antenna Vertical Radiation Patterns

64.
We revise our rules to begin accepting actual vertical pattern relative field values from
applicants and permittees in the low power television service on a voluntary basis. Also, licensees and
permittees will be permitted to submit actual vertical patterns for their existing facilities (in order to
modify the official record of their station's contour) by filing a minor change to their existing facilities or
a minor modification of their existing construction permit. We will revise FCC Forms 346 and 301-CA
to accommodate the acceptance of actual vertical pattern relative field values.
65.
In the Further Notice, we found that low power television stations use a variety of
transmitting antennas designed to produce widely differing vertical patterns.196 As a result, use of
assumed vertical antenna patterns, as has been our practice since the 2004 Digital LPTV Order,197 has
been affecting to varying degrees the accuracy of service area and interference predictions. This in turn
may have been limiting low power television stations from engineering their digital facilities to best serve
the needs of their viewers. It was for this reason that in the Further Notice we proposed to revise the
assumed vertical antenna patterns that the Commission adopted in the 2004 Digital LPTV Order.198 We
now conclude that by incorporating the actual vertical antenna patterns into our interference analysis we
will achieve a more realistic determination of the service areas of these stations and their potential for
interfering with other stations, as well as more accurate determinations of application mutual exclusivity.
Realizing the full benefits of this approach will require the prediction model to apply the vertical relative
field strengths of the antennas used by existing stations, thereby enabling more realistic predictions of
their "desired" signal strengths and "interference masking" effects on the service of other stations.
66.
We shall not, however, require that all licensees, permittees and applicants for low power
television facilities submit their actual vertical antenna patterns. We have received numerous comments


193 Cellular South Comments at 9.
194 Id.
195 See duTreil Comments at 3. We note that this requirement was set out in the Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at
13846, 38.
196 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13848.
197 See Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19360.
198 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13847.
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and reply comments in regard to this subject.199 The commenters unanimously agree that it will be
beneficial to have the option of submitting actual vertical pattern relative field values. In some instances,
however, the commenters disagree as to how we should implement such changes. Although Harris
suggests that the Commission obtain such data from all existing low power television stations in order to
"maximize the utilization of broadcasters existing spectrum allocations,"200 we find that such a
requirement may be costly and burdensome to applicants that may not have the need or means to prepare
an engineering showing of their actual vertical pattern. Therefore, rather than requiring that all existing
stations and permittees, and all future applicants submit this information, we shall instead use the
assumed vertical patterns set forth in Section 74.793(d) for applicants and permittees that choose not to
submit their actual vertical patterns.201 We find the burden such a task would impose on applicants
greatly outweighs the spectrum maximization benefit that Harris believes would come from it. We
believe that by the

September 1, 2015

transition date those stations that find it useful to do so will have
an opportunity to submit their actual vertical patterns.
67.
Venture states that it "is concerned by the number of LPTV construction permits granted
that propose antenna patterns that just do not work under the laws of physics."202 For example, Venture
cites to applications that "propose horizontal patterns that range from full field to less than 10 percent
field in less than 10 degrees . . . ."203 Further, Venture states that "construction permits have been granted
with antenna patterns that propose to lower field strength to 0.001 field 90 degrees off horizontal full field
of an antenna pattern."204 Venture recommends that the Commission "revise its rules to prohibit field
strength off of any antenna to be less than 0.01 field and should not allow any signal strength proposal to
fall by more than 50 percent within 10 degrees."205 We decline to adopt Venture's proposal. Applicants,
by specifying a specific antenna pattern, will certify that such a pattern can be built by manufacturers. It
is the applicant's responsibility to make sure that in actuality its pattern can be designed. PBS noted that
for the foreseeable future, interference analysis will be based on a mix of actual and assumed antenna
patterns.206 Thus, PBS recommends that the Commission give "special consideration to waiver requests
that are premised on the notion that the mix of actual and assumed patterns creates an overestimation of a
proposed facility's interference potential to other stations."207 We shall continue to consider alternative
showings contained in waiver requests wherein applicants will continue to have an opportunity to discuss
any issues, including compliance with interference rules, and bring any issues to the staff's attention.

J.

Use of Full Power DTV Emission Mask

68.
In order to provide more flexibility for low power television stations to secure channels,
we adopt our proposal to permit low power television applicants to use the DTV emission mask available


199 See, e.g., NTA Comments at 4-5 and Reply Comments at 12-13; LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 9; Harris
Comments at 11; Cohen Comments at 3; Cellular South Comments at 10; Venture Comments at 7; Airwaved
Comments at 3; duTreil Comments at 3-4; PBS Comments at 10.
200 See Harris Comments at 11.
201 See 47 C.F.R. 74.793(d).
202 See Venture Comments at 7.
203 Id.
204 Id.
205 Id.
206 See PBS Comments at 10.
207 Id.
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to full power television stations to protect existing stations operating on first adjacent channels.208 In the
Further Notice, we noted that the Digital LPTV Order adopted the use of relaxed emission masks,
specifically simple and stringent masks.209 However, over time the staff has received numerous waiver
requests from low power television station applicants to substitute the full power DTV emission mask.210
The applicants argue that in areas where frequencies are not available, use of the full power DTV
emission mask will enable them to secure a channel even though it will cost more to install such a mask.
Furthermore, the Broadband Plan recommended allowing "LPTV stations to use certain technologies
(such as mask filters) to enable more efficient channel allotments...."211 We conclude that our current
approach, using the two different emission masks that are part of the low power television rules,
needlessly limits these stations from identifying a workable channel, and that use of the full power
television DTV emission mask may be the preferable approach for some low power television stations.
69.
We agree with those commenters that support allowing low power television applicants
to specify the use of the full power television DTV emission mask because this can accommodate
additional LPTV stations and enable more efficient use of the available spectrum.212 As NTA states, the
full power DTV emission mask will enable licensees to use a channel that is adjacent to a channel used at
the same or a nearby antenna location.213 This will be important for low power television stations with
the need for increasing adjacent channel spacing to accommodate possible spectrum reallocation
initiatives. Cellular South agrees that allowing low power television stations to use the full power DTV
emission mask will allow for more efficient reallotments and, in addition, states that the mask will lessen
interference by low power television stations on channel 51 to lower 700 MHz wireless operations.214

K.

Issues Outside the Scope of the Proceeding

70.
A number of commenters raised issues that were not raised in the Further Notice. NPR,
Venture, Syncom, and Signal all raise issues with respect to the use of channel 6 for low power television
operations.215 LPTV Entrepreneurs proposes that low power television licensees be allowed to participate
in the incentive auction contemplated by the Broadband Plan.216 Cohen recommends that the
Commission consider expanded freeze waiver criteria should the Commission implement a freeze on new


208 See 47 C.F.R. 73.622(h)(1).
209 Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd at 13849 citing Digital LPTV Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 19400-19405; 47 C.F.R.
74.794(a)(2) and 74.793(c). Simple and stringent masks are defined at 47 C.F.R. 74.794(a)(2)(i) and (ii).
210 See 47 C.F.R. 73.622(h)(1).
211 See Broadband Plan, at 94.
212 See, e.g., Verizon Comments at 3-4 and Reply Comments at 7; PBS Comments at 11; NTA Comments at 5-6
and Reply Comments at 13; LPTV Licensee Group Comments at 7; Harris Comments at 12; Cellular South
Comments at 11; Venture Comments at 7; H & D Comments at 3; duTreil Comments at 3; Renard Reply Comments
at 3; Entravision Comments at 7.
213 NTA Comments at 6.
214 Cellular South Comments at 11.
215 See NPR Comments at 3 -7; Venture Reply Comments at 2 6; Syncom Reply Comments at 1-3; Signal Reply
Comments at 7 9; see also Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Petition for Rulemaking, RM-11565,
filed July 20, 2009 in MM Docket 09-35.
216 See LPTV Entrepreneurs Comments at 4-5; see also Broadcast Innovation NPRM, 25 FCC Rcd at 16512
(seeking comment on whether low power stations should be permitted to participate in the Commission's channel
sharing efforts).
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low-power translator facilities.217 Venture requests that the Commission re-visit stations' compliance
with the Class A eligibility requirements.218 One Ministries proposes that low power television stations
be allowed to assist in filling the need for wireless spectrum and be allowed to provide wireless content
through using OFDM modulation standards instead of 8VSB.219 Lastly, Cellular South, as supported by
King Street Wireless and AT&T, suggests "that the Commission limit the filing of displacement
applications to channels below Channel 50 in order to minimize the potential for interference to wireless
operations in the 700 MHz band."220 We find that these issues are beyond the scope of this proceeding or,
as indicated, are being addressed in other proceedings. If the FCC were to be granted incentive auction
authority by Congress, it is imperative that we consider, in keeping with the requirements of the
legislation, how LPTV services would be impacted. Because these issues are addressed in other
proceedings we shall not address them here.

IV.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

A.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

71.
The Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is attached to this Second Report and Order as
Appendix C.

B.

Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

72.
This Second Report and Order adopts a revised information collection requirement
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 ("PRA")221 pertaining to DTV transition related issues.222
Specifically, this Second Report and Order will: (1) require all low power television stations with
facilities on channels 52-59 to submit a digital displacement application proposing an in-core channel
(channels 2-51 excluding channel 37) not later than September 1, 2011; (2) require all low power
television stations to provide notice of their upcoming digital transition to their viewers; (3) require low
power television stations that have not taken steps to convert to digital by a date certain to submit a
notification of their conversion plan; (4) require Class A TV station licensees to file a license application
for either the "flash cut" channel on which they are now operating in analog or the digital companion
channel they choose to retain for post-transition operations and certify therein that their proposed facilities
meet all Class A interference protection requirements; (5) require permittees of low power television
stations operating pursuant to a digital STA to file the annual ancillary and supplementary services report;
and (6) permit applicants and permittees in the low power television service to submit actual vertical
pattern relative field values as part of their applications (FCC Form 346 and 301-CA) on a voluntary
basis. These requirements will not go into effect until OMB has approved them and the Commission has
published a notice announcing the effective date of the information collection requirement. For additional


217 See Cohen Comment at 2-3; see also "Initiation of Nationwide, First-Come, First-Served Digital Licensing for
Low Power Television and TV Translator Services Postponed until Further Notice," Public Notice, DA 10-1168, 25
FCC Rcd 8179 (MB 2010).
218 See Venture Comments at 6.
219 See One Ministries Comment at 1.
220 See Cellular South Comments at 6; King Street Wireless Comments at 1; AT&T Reply Comments at 4; see also
"Petition for Rulemaking and Request for Licensing Freezes," filed by CTIA the Wireless Association and Rural
Cellular Association, March 15, 2011 and "Media Bureau Seeks Comment on Petition for Rulemaking and Request
for Licensing Freezes," Public Notice, RM 11626, DA 11-562, released March 28, 2011.
221 The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 ("PRA"), Pub. L. No. 104-13, 109 Stat 163 (1995) (codified in Chapter
35 of title 44 U.S.C.).
222 See OMB Control No. 3060-0016 (Form 346).
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information concerning the information collection requirement contained in this Report and Order,
contact the Office of Managing Director ("OMD"), Performance Evaluation & Records Management
("PERM"), Cathy Williams, Cathy.Williams@fcc.gov, at 202-418-2918.
73.
In addition, we note that pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002,
Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we previously sought specific comment on how the
Commission might "further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with
fewer than 25 employees."
74.
The Commission will send a copy of this Second Report and Order to Congress and the
Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

V.

ORDERING CLAUSES

75.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that pursuant to Sections 1, 4(i) and (j), 5(c)(1), 7, 301,
302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 312, 316, 319, 324, 332, 336, and 337 of the Communications Act of 1934, 47
U.S.C 151, 154(i) and (j), 155(c)(1), 157, 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 312, 316, 319, 324, 332, 336,
and 337, this Second Report and Order IS ADOPTED and the Commission's rules ARE HEREBY
AMENDED as set forth in Appendix B. The rules and procedures adopted in this Second Report and
Order are effective 30 days after the date of publication of the summary of this Second Report and Order in
the Federal Register, provided, however, that the rules and procedures that contain information collection
requirements subject to the PRA shall not be effective until approved by OMB. The Commission will
publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing when OMB approval for these rules has been
received.
76.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission's Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Second Report and Order,
including the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration.
77.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission SHALL SEND a copy of this Second
Report and Order in a report to be sent to Congress and the General Accounting Office pursuant to the
Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary
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APPENDIX A

List of Commenters

Comments

AT&T Inc. ("AT&T")
Cohen, Dippell and Everist, P.C ("Cohen")
Consumer Electronics Association ("CEA")
Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition ("CERC")
Cellular South, Inc. ("Cellular South")
Cordillera Communications, Inc. ("Cordillera")
CTIA- The Wireless Association ("CTIA")
duTreil, Lundin & Rackley, Inc. ("duTreil")
Entravision Holdings, LLC ("Entravision")
Folse Communications, LLC ("Folse")
George S. Flinn, Jr.
Harris Corporation ("Harris")
Hatfield & Dawson Consulting Engineers, LLC ("H&D")
Inspiration television, Inc ("Inspiration")
Island Broadcasting Company ("Island")
Liberty University, Inc. ("Liberty")
Low Power Television Licensee Group ("LPTV Licensee Group")
Lotus TV of Houston, LLC ("Lotus TV")
LPTV Entrepreneurs
Motorola, Inc. ("Motorola")
National Public Radio, Inc ("NPR")
National Public Safety Telecommunications Council ("NPSTC")
National Translator Association ("NTA")
Nickolaus E. Leggett
One Ministries, Inc. ("One Ministries")
PBS, APTS, and CPB ("PBS")
Obidia Porras
Signal Above LLC ("Signal")
Smartcomm, L.L.C. ("Smartcomm")
SpectrumEvolution.org ("SpectrumEvolution")
State Board of Education, State of Idaho ("State of Idaho")
John Terrill
Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, Inc. ("Trinity")
Elizabeth Trinkle
Venture Technologies Group, LLC ("Venture")
Verizon Wireless ("Verizon")
WLFM, LLC ("WLFM")

Reply Comments

AT&T, Inc.
Cesar Rincon International ("Rincon")
CTIA The Wireless Association
George S. Flinn, Jr.
Harris Corporation
Island Broadcasting Company ("Island")
King Street Wireless, L.P. ("King Street Wireless")
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S. Moore
National Public Radio, Inc.
National Translator Association
Renard Communications Corporation ("Renard")
Signal Above, LLC
Syncom Media Group, Inc. ("Syncom")
Una Vez Mas, LP ("Una Vez Mas")
Venture Technologies Group, LLC
Verizon Wireless

Ex Parte

Jaime Arbona
Blackstrap Broadcasting
Joint Commenters
Lin Television Corporation
National Public Radio, Inc.
Venture Technologies Group, LLC
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APPENDIX B

Final Rules

PART 73 RADIO BROADCAST SERVICES
Part 73 of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:
1. The authority for Part 73 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 334 and 336
2. Amend Section 73.624(g) to read as follows:
Section 73.624 Digital television broadcast stations.
* * * * *
(g) Commercial and noncommercial DTV licensees and permittees, and low power television, TV
translator and Class A television stations DTV licensees and permittees, must annually remit a fee of five
percent of the gross revenues derived from all ancillary and supplementary services, as defined by
paragraph (b) of this section, which are feeable, as defined in paragraphs (g)(2)(i) and through (ii) of this
section.
* * * * *
3. Amend Section 73.3572 to as a new subsection (h) as follows:
Section 73.3572 - Processing of TV broadcast, Class A TV broadcast, low power TV, TV translators, and
TV booster applications.
* * * * *
(h) Class A TV station licensees shall file a license application for either the flash cut channel or the
digital companion channel they choose to retain for post-transition digital operations. Class A TV
stations will retain primary, protected regulatory status on their desired post-transition digital channel.
Class A TV applicants must certify that their proposed post-transition digital facilities meet all Class A
TV interference protection requirements.
PART 74 EXPERIMENTAL RADIO, AUXILIARY, SPECIAL BROADCAST AND OTHER
PROGRAM DISTRIBUTIONAL SERVICES
4. The authority citation for Part 74 is amended to read as follows:
Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 307, 309, 336 and 554
5. Amend Section 74.731 to read as follows:
74.731 Purpose and permissible service.
* * * * *
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(l) After 11:59 pm local time on September 1, 2015, low power television, TV translators and Class A
television stations may no longer operate any facility in analog (NTSC) mode.
6. Amend Section 74.735 to read as follows:
74.735 Power limitations.
* * * * *
(b) The maximum ERP of a digital low power TV, TV translator, or TV booster station (average power)
shall not exceed:
(1) 3 kW for VHF channels 213; and
(2) 15 kW for UHF channels 1469.
* * * * *
7. Amend Section 74.786 to read as follows:
* * * * *
(g) After 11:59 pm local time on December 31, 2011, low power television and TV translator stations
may no longer operate any analog (NTSC) or digital facilities above Channel 51.
8. Amend Section 74.787 to read as follows:
Section 74.787 Digital licensing.
* * * * *
(b) Definitions of "major" and "minor" changes to digital low power television and television
translator stations.

(1) Applications for major changes in digital low power television and television translator
stations include: (1) any change in the frequency (output channel) not related to displacement relief; (2)
any change in transmitting antenna location where the protected contour resulting from the change does
not overlap some portion of the protected contour of the authorized facilities of the existing station; or (3)
any change in transmitting antenna location of greater than 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the reference
coordinates of the existing station's antenna location.
(2) Other facilities changes will be considered minor.
(c) Not later than 11:59 pm local time on September 1, 2011, low power television or TV translator
stations operating analog (NTSC) or digital facilities above Channel 51, that have not already done so,
must file a digital displacement application for a channel below Channel 52 pursuant to the procedures in
subsection (a)(4) of this rule. Low power television and TV translator stations operating analog (NTSC)
or digital facilities above Channel 51 that have not submitted a digital displacement application by 11:59
pm local time on September 1, 2011 will be required to cease operations altogether by December 31,
2011. These stations' authorization for facilities above Channel 51 shall be cancelled. Any digital
displacement application submitted by a low power television or TV translator station operating analog
(NTSC) or digital facilities above Channel 51 that is submitted after 11:59 pm local time on September 1,
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2011 will be dismissed. In addition, any outstanding construction permit (analog or digital) for an
channel above Channel 51 will be rescinded on December 31, 2011, and any pending application (analog
or digital) for a channel above Channel 51 will be dismissed on December 31, 2011, if the permittee has
not submitted a digital displacement application by 11:59 pm local on September 1, 2011.
* * * * *
9. Amend Section 74.788 to read as follows:
Section 74.788 - Digital construction period.
* * * * *
(c) Authority delegated. (1) For the September 1, 2015 digital construction deadline, authority is
delegated to the Chief, Media Bureau to grant an extension of time of up to six months beyond September
1, 2015 upon demonstration by the digital licensee or permittee that failure to meet the construction
deadline is due to circumstances that are either unforeseeable or beyond the licensee's control where the
licensee has take all reasonable steps to resolve the problem expeditiously.
(2) Such circumstances shall include, but shall not be limited to: (i) Inability to construct and
place in operation a facility necessary for transmitting digital television, such as a tower, because of
delays in obtaining zoning or FAA approvals, or similar constraints; (ii) The lack of equipment necessary
to obtain a digital television signal; or (iii) Where the cost of construction exceeds the station's financial
resources.
(3) Applications for extension of time shall be filed not later than May 1, 2015, absent a showing
of sufficient reasons for late filing.
(d) For construction deadlines occurring after September 1, 2015, the tolling provisions of Section
73.3598 shall apply.
(e) A low power television, TV translator or Class A television station that holds a construction permit
for an unbuilt analog and corresponding unbuilt digital station and fails to complete construction of the
analog station by the expiration date on the analog construction permit shall forfeit both the analog and
digital construction permits notwithstanding a later expiration date on the digital construction permit.
(f) A low power television, TV translator or Class A television station that holds a construction permit
for an unbuilt analog and corresponding unbuilt digital station and completes construction of the digital
station by the expiration date on the analog construction permit, begins operating and files a license
application for the digital station may forego construction of the unbuilt analog station.
10. Amend Section 74.793 to read as follows:
74.793- Digital low power TV and TV translator station protection of broadcast stations.
* * * * *
(c) The following D/U signal strength ratio (db) shall apply to the protection of stations on the first
adjacent channel. The D/U ratios for "Digital TV-into-analog TV" shall apply to the protection of Class A
TV, LPTV and TV translator stations. The D/U ratios for "Digital TV-into-digital TV" shall apply to the
protection of DTV, digital Class A TV, digital LPTV and digital TV translator stations. The D/U ratios
correspond to the digital LPTV or TV translator station's specified out-of-channel emission mask.

Simple Mask
Stringent Mask
Full service Mask
Digital TV-into-analog TV 10
0
Lower (-14) / Upper (-17)
Digital TV-into-digital TV -7
-12
Lower (-28) / Upper (-26)
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(d) For analysis of predicted interference from digital low power TV and TV translator stations, the
relative field strength values of the antenna vertical radiation pattern if provided by the applicant will be
used instead of the values in Table 8 in OET Bulletin 69.
* * * * *
11. Amend Section 74.794 to read as follows:
Section 74.794 - Digital emissions.
(a) (1) An applicant for a digital LPTV or TV translator station construction permit shall specify that the
station will be constructed to confine out-of-channel emissions within one of the following emission
masks: simple, stringent or full service.
* * * * *
(a) (2) (iii) Full service mask: The power level of emissions on frequencies outside the authorized channel
of operation must be attenuated no less than the following amounts below the average transmitted power
within the authorized channel. In the first 500 kHz from the channel edge the emissions must be
attenuated no less than 47 dB. More than 6 MHz from the channel edge, emissions must be attenuated no
less than 110 dB. At any frequency between 0.5 and 6 MHz from the channel edge, emissions must be
attenuated no less than the value determined by the following formula:
Attenuation in dB = -11.5([Delta]f + 3.6);
Where: [Delta] f = frequency difference in MHz from the edge of the channel.
This attenuation is based on a measurement bandwidth of 500 kHz. Other measurement bandwidths may
be used as long as appropriate correction factors are applied. Measurements need not be made any closer
to the band edge than one half of the resolution bandwidth of the measuring instrument. Emissions
include sidebands, spurious emissions and radio frequency harmonics. Attenuation is to be measured at
the output terminals of the transmitter (including any filters that may be employed). In the event of
interference caused to any service, greater attenuation may be required.
* * * * *
12. A new Section 74.798 is added as follows:
Section 74.798 - Digital Television Transition Notices by Broadcasters
(a) Each low power television, TV translator and Class A television station licensee or permittee must air
an educational campaign about the transition from analog broadcasting to digital television (DTV).
(b) Stations that have already terminated analog service and begun operating in digital prior to effective
date of this rule shall not be subject to this requirement.
(c) Stations with the technical ability to locally-originate programming must air viewer notifications at a
time when the highest number of viewers is watching. Stations have the discretion as to the form of these
notifications.
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(d) Stations that lack the technical ability to locally-originate programming, or find that airing of viewer
notifications would pose some sort of a hardship, may notify their viewers by some other reasonable
means, e.g. publication of a notification in a local newspaper. Stations have discretion as to the format
and time-frame of such local notification.
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APPENDIX C

Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended ("RFA")1 an Initial
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis ("IRFA") was included in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Further
Notice
) in this proceeding.2 Written public comments were requested on the IRFA. This present Final
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis.3

A.

Need for and Objectives of the Proposed Rules

2. In the Second Report and Order, the Commission adopts rules to facilitate the low power
television digital transition. The Commission to the following steps as more fully described below:
adopted a September 1, 2015 analog shutoff date for low power television stations; adopted a December
31, 2011 transition date for low power television stations on TV channels 52-69 (the so-called "out-of-
core" channels); adopted procedures for stations that have not already completed their transition to notify
the Commission of their final digital channel; made low power television permittees subject to the
Commission's ancillary and supplementary fee rules; modified the Commission's minor change rule so
that it covers a proposed change in a low power television station's transmitter site of up to 30 miles (48
kilometers) from the reference coordinates of the station's transmitting antenna; revised the vertical
antenna patterns used in the prediction methodology for the low power television services; and allowed
low power television stations to use the emission mask used by full power television stations.
3. The Second Report and Order establishes an analog shutoff date of September 1, 2015 for
low power TV, TV translator and Class A TV stations, giving these stations the flexibility of four
additional years to convert to digital, i.e., analog station licenses would terminate at that time and analog
construction permits would have to be modified for digital operations.
4. The Second Report and Order established a date of December 31, 2011, by which all existing
analog and digital low power television stations on channels 52-69 (the so-called "out of core" channels)
must terminate operations on their out-of-core channel and requires that those stations that have not
already done so must file an application for an in-core channel 2-51 by September 1, 2011.
5. The Second Report and Order increases to 3 kilowatts the maximum amount of power that
low power stations operating on VHF channels may specify.
6. The Second Report and Order delegates to the Media Bureau the authority to establish
timeframes and procedures for stations that have not already transitioned to notify the Commission as to
their final digital channel selection.
7. The Second Report and Order mandates that stations with the technical ability to locally-
originate programming provide some type of notification to their viewers prior to ceasing analog
operations and transitioning to digital while leaving the format and timeframe for such notification to the
station's discretion.


1 See 5 U.S.C. 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. 601 et. seq., has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 ("SBREFA"), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 847 (1996).
2 See Amendment of Parts 73 and 74 of the Commission's Rules to Establish Rules for Digital Low Power Television,
Television Translator, and Television Booster Stations and to Amend Rules for Digital Class A Television Stations,
Further Notice, 25 FCC Rcd 13833 (2010) (Further Notice).
3 See 5 U.S.C. 604.
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8. The Second Report and Order makes low power television station permittees subject to the
Commission's ancillary and supplementary fee rules.
9. The Second Report and Order changes the Commission's minor change rule to limit
transmitter site changes in minor change applications to no more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the
reference coordinates of the existing station's transmitting antenna.
10. The Second Report and Order changes the Commission's rules to allow low power television
stations to use the emission mask used by full power television stations.
11. Finally, the Second Report and Order revises the vertical patterns used in the temporary
interference prediction methodology for the low power television services that the FCC adopted in its
2004 Digital LPTV Order.

B. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the IRFA

12. There were no comments received in response to the IRFA.

C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed Rules

Will Apply

13. Television Broadcasting The SBA defines a television broadcasting station as a small
business if such station has no more than $14.0 million in annual receipts.4 Business concerns included in
this industry are those "primarily engaged in broadcasting images together with sound."5 The
Commission has estimated the number of licensed commercial television stations to be 1,390.6 According
to Commission staff review of the BIA Kelsey Inc. Media Access Pro Television Database (BIA) as of
January 31, 2011, 1,006 (or about 78 percent) of an estimated 1,298 commercial television stations7 in the
United States have revenues of $14 million or less and, thus, qualify as small entities under the SBA
definition. The Commission has estimated the number of licensed noncommercial educational (NCE)
television stations to be 391.8 We note, however, that, in assessing whether a business concern qualifies
as small under the above definition, business (control) affiliations9 must be included. Our estimate,
therefore, likely overstates the number of small entities that might be affected by our action, because the
revenue figure on which it is based does not include or aggregate revenues from affiliated companies.
The Commission does not compile and otherwise does not have access to information on the revenue of


4 See 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS Code 515120 (2007).
5 Id. This category description continues, "These establishments operate television broadcasting studios and
facilities for the programming and transmission of programs to the public. These establishments also produce or
transmit visual programming to affiliated broadcast television stations, which in turn broadcast the programs to the
public on a predetermined schedule. Programming may originate in their own studios, from an affiliated network, or
from external sources." Separate census categories pertain to businesses primarily engaged in producing
programming. See Motion Picture and Video Production, NAICS code 512110; Motion Picture and Video
Distribution, NAICS Code 512120; Teleproduction and Other Post-Production Services, NAICS Code 512191; and
Other Motion Picture and Video Industries, NAICS Code 512199.
6 See News Release, "Broadcast Station Totals as of December 31, 2010," 2011 WL 484756 (F.C.C.) (dated Feb. 11,
2011) ("Broadcast Station Totals"); also available at
http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db0211/DOC-304594A1.pdf.
7 We recognize that this total differs slightly from that contained in Broadcast Station Totals, supra, note 15;
however, we are using BIA's estimate for purposes of this revenue comparison.
8 See Broadcast Station Totals, supra, note 15.
9 "[Business concerns] are affiliates of each other when one concern controls or has the power to control the other or
a third party or parties controls or has to power to control both." 13 C.F.R. 121.103(a)(1).
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NCE stations that would permit it to determine how many such stations would qualify as small entities.
14. In addition, an element of the definition of "small business" is that the entity not be dominant
in its field of operation. We are unable at this time to define or quantify the criteria that would establish
whether a specific television station is dominant in its field of operation. Accordingly, the estimate of
small businesses to which rules may apply do not exclude any television station from the definition of a
small business on this basis and are therefore over-inclusive to that extent. Also, as noted, an additional
element of the definition of "small business" is that the entity must be independently owned and operated.
We note that it is difficult at times to assess these criteria in the context of media entities and our
estimates of small businesses to which they apply may be over-inclusive to this extent.
15. Class A TV, LPTV, and TV translator stations. The same SBA definition that applies to
television broadcast licensees would apply to these stations. The SBA defines a television broadcast
station as a small business if such station has no more than $14 million in annual receipts.10
16. Currently, there are approximately 522 licensed Class A stations, 2,191 licensed LPTV
stations, 4,527 licensed TV translators, and 11 TV booster stations.11 Given the nature of these services,
we will presume that all of these licensees qualify as small entities under the SBA definition. We note,
however, that under the SBA's definition, revenue of affiliates that are not LPTV stations should be
aggregated with the LPTV station revenues in determining whether a concern is small. Our estimate may
thus overstate the number of small entities since the revenue figure on which it is based does not include
or aggregate revenues from non-LPTV affiliated companies. We do not have data on revenues of TV
translator or TV booster stations, but virtually all of these entities are also likely to have revenues of less
than $14 million and thus may be categorized as small, except to the extent that revenues of affiliated
non-translator or booster entities should be considered.
17. In addition, an element of the definition of "small business" is that the entity not be dominant
in its field of operation. We are unable at this time to define or quantify the criteria that would establish
whether a specific television station is dominant in its field of operation. Accordingly, the estimate of
small businesses to which rules may apply do not exclude any television station from the definition of a
small business on this basis and are therefore over-inclusive to that extent. Also as noted, an additional
element of the definition of "small business" is that the entity must be independently owned and operated.
We note that it is difficult at times to assess these criteria in the context of media entities and our
estimates of small businesses to which they apply may be over-inclusive to this extent.
18. Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment

Manufacturing.

The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: "This industry comprises
establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless
communications equipment. Examples of products made by these establishments are: transmitting and
receiving antennas, cable television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile
communications equipment, and radio and television studio and broadcasting equipment."12 The SBA has
developed a small business size standard for Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless
Communications Equipment Manufacturing, which is: all such firms having 750 or fewer employees.
According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were a total of 939 establishments in this category that
operated for part or all of the entire year. Of this total, 784 had less than 500 employees and 155 had


10 See 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS Code 515120.
11 See "Broadcast Station Totals as of December 31, 2010," News Release, February 11, 2011.
12 The NAICS Code for this service 334220. See 13 C.F.R 121/201. See also
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-geo_id=&-_skip=300&;-
ds_name=EC0731SG2&-_lang=en
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more than 100 employees.13 Thus, under this size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.
19. Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing. The SBA has classified the manufacturing of
audio and video equipment under in NAICS Codes classification scheme as an industry in which a
manufacturer is small if it has less than 750 employees.14 Data contained in the 2007 U.S. Census indicate
that 492 establishments operated in that industry for part or all of that year. In that year 374
establishments had between 1 and 19 employees; 82 had between 20 and 99 employees; and 36 had more
than 100 employees. Thus, under the applicable size standard, a majority of manufacturers of audio
and visual equipment may be considered small.

D.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and other Compliance

Requirements

20. The Second Report and Order adopts the following new reporting requirements: (1) to
require, where technically feasible, low power television services to provide notice of their upcoming
digital transition to their viewers; (2) require low power television stations that have not taken steps to
convert to digital by a date certain to submit a notification of their conversion plan; and (3) require
permittees of low power television stations operating pursuant to a digital STA to file the annual ancillary
and supplementary services report. These new reporting requirements will not differently affect small
entities.

E.

Steps Taken to Minimize Significant Impact on Small Entities, and Significant

Alternatives Considered

21. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in
reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): (1) the
establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the
resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or
reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design,
standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.15
22. The Commission's adoption of an analog shutoff date of September 1, 2015 will minimize
impact on small entities by allowing them four additional years from the full power television transition
that occurred on June 12, 2009, to complete their transition to digital. Adoption of an earlier low power
transition date was rejected as it was felt that many small entities would not be ready to transition any
sooner and would be forced off the air.
23. With respect to the adoption of extending all outstanding low power television station digital
construction permits to September 1, 2015, this adoption will minimize the impact on small entities as it
will provide them with additional time to complete construction of their digital facilities. Requiring that
these outstanding construction permits expire pursuant to their original construction deadlines, prior to the
September 1, 2015 low power digital transition deadline, was rejected as digital operations is not required
until September 1, 2015. The Commission felt that many small entities may be forced to abandon digital
construction and subsequently forced off the air should they unnecessarily be forced to complete
construction prior to September 1, 2015, pursuant to their original digital construction permits.
24. The Commission's dismissal as moot of all pending low power television station digital
construction permit extension applications will minimize the impact on small entitles as these stations
will no longer have to use resources to pursue these applications. Small entities will still receive the


13 http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-geo_id=&-_skip=300&;-
ds_name=EC0731SG2&-_lang=en
14 13 CFR 121.201, NAICS Code 334310.
15 5 U.S.C. 603(c)(1)-(c)(4).
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benefit of an extension as all outstanding low power television station digital construction permits have
been extended until September 1, 2015. The Commission rejected maintaining these extension
applications as these applications are moot and would unnecessarily force small entities to expend
resources to continue to pursue them.
25. With regards to the adoption of the "last minute" extensions for low power stations who
demonstrate that they meet the criteria pursuant to Section 74.788(c) of the rules,16 this adoption will
minimize the impact on qualified small entities as these small entities will be given one last six-month
extension to complete construction of their digital facilities. The Commission rejected disallowing a "last
minute" extension for qualified low power stations because without the "last minute" extension, small
entities may be forced to abandon construction and to go off the air due to unexpected delays in the
months leading up to the September 1, 2015 transition date.
26. Concerning the Commission's adoption of the hard deadline of May 1, 2015, after which low
power stations must meet the stricter tolling criteria established in Section 73.3598 of the rules,17 to apply
for a "last minute" extension pursuant to the criteria set forth in Section 74.788(c) of the rules,18 the
Commission found that the burden on small entities is justified. The Commission determined that the
burden of requiring small entities to meet the stricter tolling criteria established in Section 73.3598 of the
rules19 after May 1, 2015 is outweighed by the public interest in bringing the low power digital transition
to a successful and timely conclusion and by the ample time low power stations will have had to complete
their transition to digital..
27. With respect to requiring stations on out-of-core channels to transition at an earlier date on
December 31, 2011, the Commission found that the burden on small entities of adopting this earlier
deadline is more than outweighed by the need to clear out-of-core channels for new uses by commercial
wireless (including mobile broadband) and public safety entities. The Commission determined that
adoption of a later transition date for low power television stations on these channels would delay
progress on clearing these channels.
28. With regards to requiring all out-of-core low power television stations to file a displacement
application for an in-core channel by September 1, 2011, the Commission found that this deadline is
necessary to meet the December 31, 2011 out-of-core digital transition deadline. Furthermore, as with the
December 31, 2011 transition deadline, the burden on small entities to meet the September 1, 2011 out-
or-core displacement application deadline is outweighed by the need to clear out-of-core channels for new
uses by commercial wireless (including mobile broadband) and public safety entities. Additionally, the
Commission determined that adoption of a later out-of-core displacement application deadline would
delay progress on clearing these channels.
29. The Commission adopted streamlined procedures for stations to notify the Commission as to
whether they intend to convert to digital on their existing analog channel (a so-called "flash cut") or if
they intend to continue to operate their second digital channel and terminate operations on their analog
channel help to prevent a significant impact on small entities. As a result of the streamlined procedures,
low power stations will not be burdened with having to complete and file a lengthy progress report, as
was required of full power television stations, but rather will only have to file a simple informal
notification to make their final digital choice known to the Commission.
30. With respect to requiring all stations in the low power television service, which terminate
their analog service after the effective date of the rule provisions in this proceeding, to notify their


16 47 C.F.R. 74.788(c)
17 Id. at 74.3598.
18 Id. at 74.788(c).
19 Id. at 74.3598.
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viewers of their transition to digital operations, the Commission determined that the burden on small
entities is outweighed by the public's need to be informed of individual stations' digital transitions. The
Commission, however, eased the impact on small entities by giving those low power stations that locally
originate programming and would be required to notify their viewers with on-air announcements, the
option to notify their viewers by some other reasonable means should compliance cause financial
hardship.
31. The Commission's adoption of streamlined procedures for Class A stations to choose to
either "flash cut" to digital on their analog channel or to operate on their digital companion channel, while
preserving their primary, protected status on the channel they chose to retain, will aid to prevent a
significant impact on small entities. As a result of these streamlined procedures, Class A stations will not
be burdened with filing a minor change application with the Commission to transfer their primary
protected status from their analog channel to their desired digital channel.
32. With respect to subjecting low power television station permittees to the Commission's
ancillary and supplementary fee rules, the Commission found that the burden on small entities of having
to comply with these rules is outweighed by the need to eliminate ambiguity in the rules and to provide
efficient use and administration of spectrum.
33. The Commission did not find that there would be a significant impact on small entities by its
proposed change to its Commission's low power television minor change rule. The change would have
little impact and any impact would affect all entities equally.
34. The Commission did not find that there would a significant impact on small entities by its
decision to permit stations to use the emission mask used by full power television stations. Use would be
voluntary and any impact would affect all entities equally.
35. The Commission's decision to revise the vertical patterns used in the temporary interference
prediction methodology for the low power television services would not have a significant impact on
small entities. Use of the actual vertical patterns of proposed low power television facilities will simplify
the engineering filings on FCC Form 346, making it easier for all applicants to complete the form, and
thus saving applicants time and money. Any burden from this requirement would impact all entities
equally.

F.

Federal Rules Which Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict with the Commission's

Proposals

36. None.

G.

Report to Congress

The Commission will send a copy of the Second Report and Order, including the FRFA, in a report to be
sent to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.20 In addition, the Commission will send a
copy the Second Report and Order, including FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small
Business Administration. A copy of this Second Report and Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will
be published in the Federal Register.21


20 See 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A). The Congressional Review Act is contained in Title II, 251, of the CWAAA, see
Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 251, 110 Stat. 868.
21 See 5 U.S.C. 604(b).
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER MICHAEL J. COPPS

Re:
Amendment of Parts 73 and 74 of the Commission's Rules to Establish Rules for Digital Low
Power Television, Television Translator, and Television Booster Stations and to Amend Rules for
Digital Class A Television Stations
, (MB Docket No. 03-185).
The clearest lesson learned from the Full Power DTV transition is the amount of preparation that
is needed in advance in order to best educate the impacted citizens and to be ready to respond to the
unpredictable and the unexpected. It is evident from the Second Report and Order that we are not taking
the Low Power transition lightly. But it's a long road and we need to be constantly vigilant and
consistently active. I am grateful that we are determining a clear path forward with sufficient time for the
remaining stations to transition and that we are also beginning to form strategies for consumer outreach.
We recognize that this transition will be unique as readily a large majority of LPTVs do not
originate programming and therefore may not be able to alert their viewers of an impending transition.
But that does not make the alert any less essential-it makes smart planning essential. Hopefully by
crafting regional strategies and implementing creative outreach efforts, coordinating with civic groups,
faith centers, and utilizing local government infrastructure that proved so successful in the Full Power
transition, we will minimize the disruption to the communities who rely upon LPTV. The value of LPTV
is especially important to consider as decisions are made about spectrum and the benefits of having local
programming that serve local needs in the future.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER ROBERT M. McDOWELL

Re:
Amendment of Parts 73 and 74 of the Commission's Rules to Establish Rules for Digital Low
Power Television, Television Translator, and Television Booster and to Amend Rules for Digital
Class A Television Stations,
(MB Docket No. 03-185).
I vote in support of this Order, which will start the process to bring the DTV transition to a close
by establishing procedures and a September 1, 2015 deadline for low power television stations to
transition to digital signals. The Order also requires all low power television stations located in channels
52 to 69, also known as the 700 MHz band, to either relocate to television channels below Channel 52 or
cease operations by December 31, 2011. The relocation of these stations will clear the 700 MHz band
allowing for the successful deployment of wireless services by commercial wireless providers and public
safety entities.
Our action today promotes a well-established Commission goal of putting the nation's spectrum
resources to the most efficient and productive use. I remain mindful, however, of the significant benefits
delivered by low power television to local communities, especially throughout rural America. For this
reason, we must ensure that this digital transition is implemented as smoothly as possible, building upon
the lessons learned from the DTV transition. I am pleased to see that many of the rules and procedures
implemented in this Order include improvements based upon the wealth and breadth of experience gained
by the committed FCC staff during the full power digital transition. It should always be our goal to
improve our processes and strive to do better.
The one thing I learned from my involvement with the full power DTV transition is to expect the
unexpected. As was the case with the first digital transition, unanticipated challenges are bound to arise.
Although our past experiences may be useful in mitigating such surprises, there are significant differences
in scope between the digital transition of full power and low power television stations. In this light, I do
have some concerns about the Commission's representations regarding possible consumer outreach
efforts, such as third-party and expanded FCC call centers, walk-in DTV help centers, and staff contact
with local communities. Although we do not "decide on the exact form and extent of our consumer
education," consumers and policymakers alike should be made aware that we may not have at our
disposal the same private sector resources and funding for consumer education that was available for the
first digital transition. We therefore must be careful to not raise undue expectations regarding potential
outreach efforts. Furthermore, we should manage our available assets prudently to ensure that we are able
to provide assistance to those areas that are most dependent on low power television and most likely to be
affected.

I thank the Media Bureau for their work on this Order and the hard work that is yet to be done as
we prepare to embark on what will hopefully be a seamless and successful digital transition.
49

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