The Commission issued a Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) seeking comment on a wide-variety of issues affecting Low Power Television (“LPTV”) and Television Translator (“TV Translator”) stations.  Simultaneously with the release of the NPRM, the Commission issued a public notice suspending the construction deadlines for all outstanding construction permits for new digital LPTV and TV Translator stations pending final action on the NPRM.  The NPRM seeks comment on the following issues:

Digital Transition Deadline: The Commission tentatively concludes that it should extend the September 1, 2015 digital transition deadline for LPTV and TV Translator stations.  If it decides to postpone the transition deadline, the Commission asks whether it should set a new deadline now or wait until after the incentive auction.

Channel Sharing: The NPRM seeks comment on whether LPTV and TV Translator stations should be allowed to channel share.  The Commission proposes to apply substantially the same rules as it proposed for channel sharing by full power stations.  The NPRM also seeks comment on whether LPTV and TV Translator stations should be allowed to enter into channel sharing arrangements with full power and Class A stations.

Digital-to-Digital Replacement Translators: The Commission proposes to establish a new digital-to-digital replacement (“DRT”) translator service for full power stations that lose digital service area during the reverse auction and repacking process.   Consistent with the freeze issued by the Media Bureau earlier this year, the NPRM proposes to stop accepting applications for analog-to-digital replacement translator stations.

Assistance to LPTV and TV Translator Stations Post-Auction: The Commission seeks comment on whether it should use the incentive auction repacking software to assist displaced LPTV and TV Translator stations in identifying new channels post-auction.

Operation of Analog Radio Service by Digital LPTV Stations: The NPRM asks whether LPTV stations that operate on digital channel 6 should be allowed to operate a dual digital and analog transmission system on an ancillary or supplemental basis.  The Commission asks for comment on the potential for interference to (i) the LPTV station’s digital TV service and (ii) FM stations.  If allowed to provide this service, the Commission asks whether the LPTV station should be subject to the Part 73 rules that apply to FM Radio stations.

Elimination of the Analog Tuner Requirement:  Although it proposes delaying the digital transition date for LPTV and TV Translator stations, the Commission asks whether it should revise its rules to eliminate the obligation to include an analog tuner in TV receivers.

Comments and Reply Comments are due 30 days and 45 days respectively after publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register.

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