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FCC Freezes New LPTV and TV Translator Apps

WASHINGTON — The FCC’s Media Bureau announced a temporary freeze on applications for new digital low-power television (LPTV) stations and TV translators “in so-called ‘rural areas,'” effective immediately. The agency says holding those apps will allow staffers to focus on efforts to make more room for mobile broadband.

In a Public Notice issued today (PDF), the FCC explains that its National Broadband Plan calls for the identification of  “500 megahertz of spectrum that can be reallocated from existing uses to enable the expansion of new mobile broadband service.” The notice explains that the FCC needs “to evaluate its reallocation and repacking proposals and their impact on future licensing of low power television facilities.”

The FCC promises to “consider an appropriate date to once again begin accepting these applications” once the study is completed.  Rulemakers say they’ve been accepting these applications since August 2009, so anyone interested in filing has had “sufficient time” to do so.

There are a few exceptions, including applications for analog LPTV stations looking to “flash cut” to digital. The commission will also accept displacement applications for stations currently broadcasting on channels 52 through 69, or for stations on any other channel able to demonstrate interference from full-power TV stations.

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