The FCC today released a Public Notice announcing a 60 day settlement window for resolving conflicts between mutually exclusive Low Power Television applications for digital companion channels. Between now and December 15, applicants in 192 separate groups can file engineering amendments to remove the conflict between their applications. Parties cannot pay more than the reimbursement of an opponent’s out-of-pocket expenses to remove a conflict. If the conflicts are not removed by the December 15 deadline, applicants in each group will end up in an FCC auction, with the highest bidder getting the rights to build their digital station on the companion channel for which they applied.
These applications were filed in June in response to a window for Low Power Television stations to seek a second channel on which they can begin digital operations. These channels will allow LPTV stations to begin digital operations while continuing to operate their analog facilities until the end of the digital transition. LPTV stations not having this displacement channel will, at some point need to "flash cut" to digital – terminating their analog operations completely in order to commence their digita operation. We reported on this filing window on May 25.