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Federal Communications Commission
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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).

February 4, 2000
David Fiske (202) 418-0513



WASHINGTON, D.C. - The FCC today released a letter denying a Petition for Expedited Rulemaking, filed by Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., requesting that the Commission modify its rules to allow broadcasters to transmit Digital Television (DTV) signals using COFDM modulation in addition to the current 8-VSB modulation standard.

The Commission said that numerous studies conducted to date support the conclusion that NTSC replication is attainable under the 8-VSB standard. It said that the concerns raised in the Sinclair petition had done no more than to demonstrate a shortcoming of early DTV receiver implementation. It said that manufacturers are aware of problems cited by Sinclair and are aggressively taking steps to resolve multipath problems exhibited in some first-generation TV receivers.

The Commission noted that the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) recently analyzed the relative merits of the two standards, and concluded that the benefits of changing the DTV transmission standard to COFDM would not outweigh the costs of making such a revision. It reiterated its view that allowing more than one standard could result in compatibility problems that could cause consumers and licensees to postpone purchasing DTV equipment and lead to significant delay in the implementation and provision of DTV services to the public. It said that development of a COFDM standard would result in a multi-year effort, rather than the "unrealistic" 120 days suggested in the Sinclair petition.

At the same time it dismissed the petition, the Commission recognized the importance of the issues raised in Sinclair's petition. The Commission, stated, however that the issue of the adequacy of the DTV standard is more appropriately addressed in the context of its review of the entire DTV transition. The Commission clarified that, within 30 days, it will commence its biennial review of the DTV transition and, as a part of that proceeding, will encourage parties to comment on concerns regarding the 8-VSB standard.

- FCC -

Action by the Commission February 4, 2000, (FCC 00-35)
Office of Engineering and Technology Contact: Bob Calaff (202) 418-2470