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    Federal Communications Commission
    1919 - M Street, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20554
    News media information 202 / 418-0500
    Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
    Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

    This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

    Report ET 98-2 OET ACTION February 18, 1998


    The FCC affirmed digital television (DTV) channel assignments and other technical rules and procedures with minor modifications. The Commission's action will facilitate the conversion of over-the-air television broadcasting from analog to digital broadcasting.

    The Commission affirmed the principles of its April 3, 1997, DTV Sixth Report and Order that assigns each broadcaster a new channel for DTV operations and allows TV broadcasters to replicate their existing NTSC service with their new DTV channels. In a Reconsideration Order, the Commission also finalized the core spectrum to be used for DTV, made adjustments to UHF DTV power levels, took steps to avoid adjacent channel interference and made administrative and technical changes to minimize the impact of DTV implementation on low power operations.

    Commission decisions, made in response to 231 petitions for reconsideration, include:

    * The Commission adopted 71 revisions to the DTV allotments. It changed 42 allotments to eliminate specific DTV-to-DTV adjacent channel situations and 29 allotments to address specific requests. It also tightened the technical rules that limit out-of-band emissions from DTV operation and provided flexibility in its administrative processes to encourage adjacent channel co-locations.

    * The Commission permitted DTV stations to operate with increased power or take other measures to improve their coverage. DTV stations will be permitted to increase power, or modify their antenna height or transmitter location, where the requested change would not result in more than a 2% increase in interference to the population served by another station, unless the affected station already experiences interference to 10% or more of its population, or the change would result in the affected station receiving interference in excess of 10% of its population. In addition, UHF stations will be allowed to increase radiated power up to 200 kW and, within their service area, up to 1000 kW, by using antenna beam-tilting techniques, provided they meet the above standard for permissible interference.

    * The Commission modified its rules to allow television licensees and permittees to negotiate exchanges of DTV allotments on an intra-community, intra-market or inter-market basis where such changes do not cause interference to other stations or where all affected stations agree to accept any additional interference that may result.

    * The Commission adopted a core spectrum of channels 2-51 for DTV. This decision will eliminate industry uncertainty about the status of VHF channels 2-6; will provide more flexibility to address new technical information on DTV adjacent channel performance; will ensure that there is sufficient spectrum to minimize DTV-to-DTV adjacent channel interference; will provide more broadcasters with an in-core DTV channel and eliminate the need for second moves by many stations; will help ease the impact of the transition on translators and low power TV stations, which are small businesses that provide a wide array of programming and services to their communities; and will provide opportunities for new entrants in broadcasting.

    * The Commission said its staff will issue a public notice on its processing procedures for construction and modification applications.

    * The Commission said that at the end of the DTV transition period, it would, on its own motion, consider establishing additional DTV noncommercial reserved allotments for existing noncommercial reserved NTSC allotments that cannot be replaced at this time.

    * The Commission affirmed its decision to retain secondary status for low power television (LPTV) stations, but took additional steps to assist low power stations that may be displaced or otherwise impacted by DTV operations. In this regard, the Commission said that LPTV or TV Translator stations eligible to seek a new channel will not be subject to competing applications if they face predicted interference either to or from any allotted full service DTV facility, and that such requests will be given priority over other low power applications.

    * The Commission used software developed by the Community Broadcasters Association to change 66 allotments in the DTV Table to avoid using a channel now used by one or more low power stations. These changes provide the affected full power broadcasters with a new DTV channel that is equivalent in service replication and interference. In addition, the Commission modified its technical rules to improve sharing between low power and full power stations.

    * The Commission recognized broadcasters' interest in establishing an industry committee system for coordination of DTV allotment changes, stating that it intends to initiate a rule making proceeding in the near future to seek comment on whether it should adopt such a committee system and, if so, procedures for its operation. The Commission stated that consideration of this committee system will not delay implementation of DTV service.

    A copy of the revised DTV Table of Allotments is available via the Internet at http://www.fcc.gov/oet/dtv/.

    Action by the Commission February 17, 1998, by Memorandum Opinion and Order on Reconsideration of the Sixth Report and Order (FCC 98-24). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani, with Commissiioner Furchtgott-Roth disssenting in part. Chairman Kennard and Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth issuing separate statements.

    - FCC-

    News Media Contact: David Fiske at (202) 418-0513
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