FCC upholds order for LPTVs to clear out of 52-69 by end of the year


A request from the National Translator  Association to stay an order requiring LPTVs, Class A TVs and TV translators to have a plan in place to vacate Channels 52-69 by 9/1/11, and to complete the move by 12/31/11, has been rejected by the FCC. The Commission agreed with stay opponent Verizon, that the stations have had five years notice to clear the chunk of spectrum.

NTA had argued that the transition of LPTVs to new digs has been proceeding smoothly, and that since the exit of a station from a certain channel was not going to result in it being filled the next day by a new licensee meant that there was no pressing urgency to enforce the deadlines.

The FCC disagreed. It called a stay in general to be an extraordinary measure, and said that NTA’s arguments did not support such a drastic step.

Addressing concerns that applicants would have to wait until they were approved for a new channel before getting necessary equipment, FCC said that is why it is giving priority treatment to all such applications.

For starters, FCC said there is nothing arbitrary or capricious about the deadlines. It went on the note that NTA suggested possible harm to licensees. The FCC said the standard for a stay to be granted is proof that the possibility of harm is “certain and great” and “actual not theoretical.” Bare allegations of likelihood are insufficient.

So the deadlines remain as announced: 9/1/11 for applications, 12/31/11 for execution of the applications.