Well, that was quick. Wasting no time, the Commission has published its Second Report and Order (the one that starts the Final Countdown for analog LPTV/Class A TV/TV translator operations) in the Federal Register. That means the new rules – including the various deadlines for digital transition – will technically become effective on August 26 (even though the newly-effective deadlines themselves won’t start to roll around until December 31, 2011 – i.e., the deadline for vacating Channels 52-69 – and thereafter). FedReg publication also sets the deadline for petitions for reconsideration (that would be August 26 as well) and petitions for judicial review (September 26), should any interested parties be inclined to seek some kind of review.
Since the rule automatically extending digital CPs will become effective on August 26, stations with flash cut or digital companion permits expiring after that date need not file for extensions of the construction deadlines specified in their permits. (We understand that those permits’ expiration dates will be reset by the Commission in CDBS – but in the “trust but verify” vein, you might want to doublecheck on that, just to be sure.) Remember, though, that this automatic extension does not apply to CPs for new stations. If you have a CP for a new station and you won’t be able to construct by the permit’s expiration date, you’ll need to apply for an extension of time.
According to the latest notice, the only portion of the new rules that does not go into effect as of August 26 will be the revision to Section 73.624(g), which expanded the collection of fees for ancillary services to include digital LPTV station that are on the air but have not year received a final license. Since that change entails an information collection, it has to be approved first by the Office of Management and Budget. Check back here for updates on that front.