FCC Freezes TV and LPTV Applications for Channel 51 - Encourages Users to Vacate the Channel


The FCC today froze all applications for TV channel 51 by both applicants for full-power and low power facilities. Channel 51 is immediately adjacent to the parts of the television bands that were reclaimed for wireless uses during the DTV transition. Wireless users, including CTIA and the Rural Cellular Association, have sought to restrict use of Channel 51 because of the potential for interference to the wireless users in these new wireless frequencies. Today's order not only freezes new applications for Channel 51 by both full-power and low power TV stations (including LPTV, TV translator and Class A TV stations), but it also freezes the processing of pending applications for the channel. At the same time, the FCC has taken steps to encourage existing users of the channel to vacate it, giving low power applicants 60 days to amend pending applications to specify lower channels.

The freeze on applications is supposedly temporary, while the FCC considers a proposal for a rulemaking to permanently clear Channel 51 of TV users to eliminate the alleged interference to wireless users. But, given the action here, and the FCC's other actions to clear portions of the TV spectrum for wireless users, it certainly looks like the FCC is predisposed to adopting the proposal of the wireless users to clear this channel.

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