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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 No. MM 98-6 MASS MEDIA ACTION May 29, 1998


The Federal Communications Commission today announced the creation of a DTV tower strike force, chaired by Commissioner Susan Ness, to target potential problems in the implementation of digital broadcast television (DTV) and to work with local authorities and broadcasters to expedite implementation of DTV.

Commissioner Ness said, "The FCC is committed to doing everything possible to help the television viewing public quickly receive the dramatic benefits of new digital television. This group will work to help resolve any problems that could slow down the DTV implementation process."

Chairman Kennard said, "Commissioner Ness has been a leader at the FCC in moving forward with our DTV plans, and I am delighted that she has agreed to lead this special DTV tower strike force effort."

In order to provide DTV service, television broadcasters may have to modify their transmission towers or construct new towers. Before modifying or building towers, broadcasters may need approval from state, city or county governments regarding local zoning, physical engineering, construction, safety or other issues. These local zoning and approval processes may involve community organizations and residential concerns.

The Commission's DTV Tower Strike Force will make Commission staff available to aid local authorities and broadcasters by providing expedited answers to questions related to the process of assessing tower modification or construction and to facilitate the deliberations of reviewing entities.

The first wave of DTV, from 24 stations in the top ten television markets, is slated to be on the air by November of this year. A total of 40 broadcasters in the top ten television markets -- which represents 30 percent of TV households nationally -- will be broadcasting digital signals by May, 1999. An additional 80 broadcasters in the top thirty markets will be on the air with DTV by November of 1999, bringing DTV broadcast service to 53% of the country.

The FCC staff can be contacted by e-mail at mmbprd@fcc.gov, or by calling Barbara Kreisman, Chief of the Mass Media Bureau's Video Services Division at (202) 418-1600.

In order to further assist local authorities, the Commission has created a website containing a Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on DTV and tower siting. This site can be accessed at www.fcc.gov/mmb/prd/dtv.

To aid local authorities in their assessment of broadcasters' tower modification or construction applications, the Commission urged broadcasters to send a copy of Form 301, Application for Construction Permit for Commercial Broadcast Station, to their local permitting authority at the time it is filed with the Commission.

- FCC -

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

Mass Media Contact: Barbara Kreisman, Chief, Video Services Bureau (202) 418-1600