• FCC Releases Order to Implement the DTV Delay Act
  • March 23, 2009 | Authors: Jennifer L. Richter; Carly T. Didden; Jennifer A. Cetta
  • Law Firm: Patton Boggs LLP - Washington Office
  • The FCC released an order in response to the DTV Delay Act, to extend the DTV transition period to June 12, 2009, extend analog television license terms and to adjust DTV construction permits. The FCC concluded no rulemaking was necessary to extend the DTV transition and related licenses and permits because the DTV Delay Act provided the FCC with the ability to take whatever action necessary to implement the Act within 30 days of enactment. If the FCC followed its normal rulemaking procedures and complied with other requirements, it claims it would not have been able to meet the implementation deadline since the original DTV transition deadline was only three days from the enactment of the Act. The FCC made the following changes to television stations’ licenses and construction permits:

    • the date of termination for a station’s analog license is extended from February 17, 2009 to June 12, 2009 (11:59:59 pm local time);
    • the construction permit deadline to construct a station’s full-authorized post-transition (DTV) facility is extended from February 17, 2009 to June 12, 2009 (11:59:59 pm local time);
    • the date on which a station can commence operation of a facility authorized for post transition service without further Commission authorization is extended from 12:00 am February 18, 2009 to 12:00 am June 13, 2009 (local time).

    The FCC reminded television stations that they may complete construction before the June 12, 2009 deadline but may not begin DTV operations before June 13, 2009, without prior FCC approval. The FCC also delegated authority to the Media Bureau to review DTV waiver requests and other filings and changed the conditions for early transition to eliminate the need to provide emergency information in Spanish if the station does not offer Spanish language programming.

    At our deadline, the FCC released a second order and notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment on DTV consumer education requirements and 700 MHz band license terms and construction requirements.