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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
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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).

December 18, 1997


The true potential of the digital television revolution will only be realized when broadcasters build DTV stations and provide all Americans with free-over-the-air-digital television and with access to the vast array of new ancillary or supplementary services that are the subject of today's DTV proceeding.

The Commission has set a staggered schedule for broadcasters to build DTV stations and commence DTV broadcasting. Some broadcasters have voluntarily begun building their DTV stations, and I applaud these voluntary initiatives. I will continue to monitor the broadcasters' progress over the next year in meeting the FCC's build-out dates for DTV.

Today the FCC launched a new proceeding to implement the Congressional requirement in the 1996 Telecommunications Act that provides that broadcasters using their DTV channels for any pay- TV or subscription services that are not supported by advertisers pay a fee to the government for their fee- based uses of the public spectrum. This proceeding will provide guidance to broadcasters as they continue to build-out their DTV stations.

The FCC's order in April made it clear that broadcasters have to include at least one free over- the-air channel of traditional broadcasting in their DTV service. Today's action does not alter that rule, and no fee will be assessed on free over-the-air broadcasts.

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