47 U.S. Code § 336 - Broadcast spectrum flexibility
If the Commission grants a license for advanced television services to a person that, as of the date of such issuance, is licensed to operate a television broadcast station or holds a permit to construct such a station (or both), the Commission shall, as a condition of such license, require that either the additional license or the original license held by the licensee be surrendered to the Commission for reallocation or reassignment (or both) pursuant to Commission regulation.
Nothing in this section shall be construed as relieving a television broadcasting station from its obligation to serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity. In the Commission’s review of any application for renewal of a broadcast license for a television station that provides ancillary or supplementary services, the television licensee shall establish that all of its program services on the existing or advanced television spectrum are in the public interest. Any violation of the Commission rules applicable to ancillary or supplementary services shall reflect upon the licensee’s qualifications for renewal of its license.
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), all proceeds obtained pursuant to the regulations required by this subsection shall be deposited in the Treasury in accordance with chapter 33 of title 31.
Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the salaries and expenses account of the Commission shall retain as an offsetting collection such sums as may be necessary from such proceeds for the costs of developing and implementing the program required by this section and regulating and supervising advanced television services. Such offsetting collections shall be available for obligation subject to the terms and conditions of the receiving appropriations account, and shall be deposited in such accounts on a quarterly basis.
Within 30 days after November 29, 1999, the Commission shall send a notice to the licensees of all low-power television licenses that describes the requirements for class A designation. Within 60 days after November 29, 1999, licensees intending to seek class A designation shall submit to the Commission a certification of eligibility based on the qualification requirements of this subsection. Absent a material deficiency, the Commission shall grant certification of eligibility to apply for class A status.
Consistent with the requirements set forth in paragraph (2)(A) of this subsection, a licensee may submit an application for class A designation under this paragraph within 30 days after final regulations are adopted under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph. Except as provided in paragraphs (6) and (7), the Commission shall, within 30 days after receipt of an application of a licensee of a qualifying low-power television station that is acceptable for filing, award such a class A television station license to such licensee.
If a station that is awarded a construction permit to maximize or significantly enhance its digital television service area, later files a change application to reduce its digital television service area, the protected contour of that station shall be reduced in accordance with such change modification.
No low-power television station authorized as of November 29, 1999, shall be disqualified for a class A license based on common ownership with any other medium of mass communication.
The Commission is not required to issue any additional license for advanced television services to the licensee of a class A television station under this subsection, or to any licensee of any television translator station, but shall accept a license application for such services proposing facilities that will not cause interference to the service area of any other broadcast facility applied for, protected, permitted, or authorized on the date of filing of the advanced television application. Such new license or the original license of the applicant shall be forfeited after the end of the digital television service transition period, as determined by the Commission. A licensee of a low-power television station or television translator station may, at the option of licensee, elect to convert to the provision of advanced television services on its analog channel, but shall not be required to convert to digital operation until the end of such transition period.
Nothing in this subsection preempts or otherwise affects section 337 of this title.
The Commission may not grant a class A license to a low-power television station for operation between 698 and 806 megahertz, but the Commission shall provide to low-power television stations assigned to and temporarily operating in that bandwidth the opportunity to meet the qualification requirements for a class A license. If such a qualified applicant for a class A license is assigned a channel within the core spectrum (as such term is defined in MM Docket No. 87–286, February 17, 1998), the Commission shall issue a class A license simultaneously with the assignment of such channel.
The Commission may not grant under this subsection a class A license to a low-power television station operating on a channel within the core spectrum that includes any of the 175 additional channels referenced in paragraph 45 of its February 23, 1998, Memorandum Opinion and Order on Reconsideration of the Sixth Report and Order (MM Docket No. 87–268). Within 18 months after November 29, 1999, the Commission shall identify by channel, location, and applicable technical parameters those 175 channels.
The term “advanced television services” means television services provided using digital or other advanced technology as further defined in the opinion, report, and order of the Commission entitled “Advanced Television Systems and Their Impact Upon the Existing Television Broadcast Service”, MM Docket 87–268, adopted September 17, 1992, and successor proceedings.
The term “designated frequency” means each of the frequencies designated by the Commission for licenses for advanced television services.
The term “high definition television” refers to systems that offer approximately twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of receivers generally available on February 8, 1996, as further defined in the proceedings described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
 See References in Text note below.
The date of enactment of LPTV Digital Data Services Act, referred to in subsec. (h)(3), probably means the date of enactment of Pub. L. 106–554, which enacted subsec. (h) of this section, and which was approved Dec. 21, 2000. There is no public law with that short title.
This chapter, referred to in subsec. (h)(6), was in the original “this Act”, meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.
2000—Subsecs. (h), (i). Pub. L. 106–554 added subsec. (h) and redesignated former subsec. (h) as (i).
1999—Subsecs. (f) to (h). Pub. L. 106–113 added subsec. (f) and redesignated former subsecs. (f) and (g) as (g) and (h), respectively.
Ex. Ord. No. 13038, Mar. 11, 1997, 62 F.R. 12065, as amended by Ex. Ord. No. 13062, § 5, Sept. 29, 1997, 62 F.R. 51756; Ex. Ord. No. 13065, Oct. 22, 1997, 62 F.R. 55329; Ex. Ord. No. 13081, Apr. 30, 1998, 63 F.R. 24385; Ex. Ord. No. 13102, Sept. 25, 1998, 63 F.R. 52125, which established the Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, was revoked by Ex. Ord. No. 13138, § 3(b), Sept. 30, 1999, 64 F.R. 53880, formerly set out as a note under section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.
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