The FCC has released their final rule laying out regulations for low-power television stations switching from analog to digital transmission as well as adopting rules which will accommodate industry changes resulting from the upcoming broadcast incentive auction.
The final rule extended the deadline for low-power television stations, or LPTVs, to transition to digital transmission to one year after the 39-month post-auction transition period. The FCC said this was in an effort to grant LPTVs enough time to analyze the new low-band spectrum landscape following the broadcast incentive auction. The auction is scheduled to begin in March, 2016. The initial deadline was previously Sept. 1, 2015.
The Commission said it would assist LPTVs in finding new broadcast channels for stations that are kicked off of their current frequencies as a result of the auction, which will redistribute significant spectrum rights from broadcasters to wireless providers. LPTVs and TV translator stations will also be allowed to share channels under the rule, which the FCC said would further aid stations displaced by the auction.
Death of Analog
The final rule will also extend the end of a mandate that new Televisions include an analog tuner to pick up broadcast stations. After Aug. 31, 2017, manufacturers will no longer be required to include analog tuners in televisions.