Now that the FCC's Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on the conversion of low power television stations from analog to digital operations has been published in the Federal Register, the comment deadlines are set; Filings on the FCC's proposals are due to MB Docket No. 03-185 on Dec. 17, with reply comments due on Jan.18, 2011.
The radio industry is watching this proceeding because of some analog LPTV stations operating as pseudo-FMs on 87.9 MHz; the practice will presumably end when they transition to digital.
The notice does not propose a specific date by which all Class A, LPTV and TV translators must transition to digital operations. However, the FCC does seek comment on adopting a cut-off date sometime in 2012.
Since the June 12, 2009 deadline for all full-power television stations to stop analog operations and begin operating only in digital, the commission says "a significant number" of LPTV and TV translators, as well as Class A TV stations, continue analog transmissions and many questions remain as to how to transition these stations to digital-only operation.
In its further notice, the FCC seeks comment on the procedures and timelines by which these stations will complete their digital transition.