This afternoon the FCC announced that it would postpone the opportunity to apply for new digital low power television stations until July 26, 2010. The Commission had begun accepting applications for new digital LPTV stations in so-called rural areas beginning in late August, and had previously announced that it intended to expand the first-come, first-served filing opportunity to the rest of the country starting January 25, 2010. The Commission has now pushed that date back by six months, allegedly to allow it more time to process the applications that it has already received thus far, and also to allow the “Commission staff to dedicate additional time and resources for consideration of the Broadband Plan.” It is not clear whether this statement literally means that engineers from the Low Power branch of the Video Division of the Media Bureau have been assigned to assist with the Broadband Plan, or if the FCC is simply hesitant to issue permits for more new LPTV stations until it figures out the future of broadcast television. Either way, the Commission has decided to step back from accepting applications for new digital LPTV stations, at least for now. A copy today’s public notice can be found here.
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