The FCC’s Media Bureau yesterday released a Public Notice asking for comment on a proposal to extend the construction deadline until September 1, 2015 for any construction permit for a digital LPTV station or a TV translator that will expire before that date. September 1, 2015 is the deadline for all TV translators and LPTV stations to convert to digital or to cease operations. See our article here on the obligations for LPTV and TV translators to convert to digital by September of next year. Comments on the proposal for the blanket extension of the construction deadline for these stations are due August 14, with replied due on August 29.
The Commission once before denied a blanket extension of the construction deadlines for all such construction permits (see our article here). But given how close the impending deadline now is, and the uncertainties over the ability of any new LPTV or TV translator to continue to operate after the incentive auctions (and the uncertainty over just what those auctions will require), the Bureau has asked for comments on this extension deadline. Interested parties should prepare their comments on this matter by the August deadline. Obviously, a quick decision will be necessary to be meaningful given the impending deadline for digital conversion – just over a year away.