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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I apply?
All applications are submitted on-line with signed copies also delivered to the Low-Power Television and Translator Upgrade Program at

NTIA/ LPTV Upgrade Program
Room H-4812
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20230

See “Contact Us” to find information for the NTIA Program Officer who is available to answer your questions regarding your station and the application process.

2. Where do I get a user name?
You create your own user name. Write down your user name so that you can refer to it later.

3. What do I do if I forgot my password?
Please refer to the instructions on the application log-in page. Write down your password so that you can refer to it later.

4. When can I file an application for the Low-Power Television and Translator Upgrade Program?
Completed applications for the Priority Round must be received by NTIA no later than 5 P.M. Eastern Daylight Savings Time 07/13/2009 (60 days after publication in the Federal Register). Beginning 09/01/2009 applications must be received at NTIA by the first business day of each subsequent month as long as funds are available.

5. What do I need to file an application for reimbursement through the Low-Power Television and Translator Upgrade Program?
To apply for a reimbursement you will need to file an on-line application found at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/lptv/application. Refer to FAQ #1. In addition to completing the on-line application, you will need to provide (1) paid-in-full receipts issued by suppliers, vendors, or contractors for eligible costs and expenses associated with the completion of your LPTV Upgrade Project; and (2) a copy of your station’s FCC authorization to operate a digital station.

6. I need a broadcast license to file an application?
In order to qualify for the Low-Power Television and Translator Upgrade Program, you must be operating a digital low-power television facility. You must have filed for a license to cover and provide documentation of such filing.

7. How long will it take for me to receive the reimbursement?
While the NTIA Broadcast Division will process the applications as quickly as possible, other Federal agencies not under the control of NTIA are involved with the grant processing and payments. NTIA anticipates that reimbursements should be received within 8 weeks.

8. I registered, filed an application, and submitted optional information for the Digital-to-Analog Conversion Program. Am I automatically registered for the Upgrade Program?
NO, YOU MUST FILE AN APPLICATION FOR THE UPGRADE PROGRAM! We thank you for providing the optional information in the first program. This information helped us create the Low-Power Television and Translator Upgrade program. Refer to FAQ Number 5.

9. I was issued an FCC Construction Permit for an analog Low-Power station prior to February 8, 2006, but did not begin analog broadcasting until after February 2006. Am I eligible for the upgrade program?
To meet this eligibility requirement for the Low-Power Television and Translator Upgrade Program, a station must have either upgraded an existing analog station to digital (flash cut) or added a digital companion channel to its existing analog station. The analog station must have been operational or possess a construction permit for an analog station prior to February 8, 2006, the date of legislation enactment.

10. What is the maximum reimbursement?
The amount of reimbursement your station is eligible for is determined by whether you are able to modify your existing transmitter and station installation with an “upgrade kit” or if you must replace your existing transmitter. The maximum reimbursement for a transmitter modification is $6,000. The maximum reimbursement for a transmitter replacement is $20,000.

11. What equipment is eligible for reimbursement under the Upgrade Program?
The eligible equipment is shown on application section “Station Specific Info,” item 17. The equipment you are eligible for will appear after you indicate your current transmission equipment.

12. How long do I have to apply to the Low-Power Television and Translator Upgrade Program for a reimbursement?
The Upgrade Program began with $44 million available for grants. The funding will be available until either all the funds are awarded in grants or when the program expires; currently September 30, 2012. Applications must be received by NTIA no later than July 2, 2012, in order for NTIA to process all applications by the September 30, 2012, program expiration date. The amount of Upgrade funds available for grants will be shown on the website at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/lptv/index.

NTIA is now accepting applications from eligible stations qualifying for priority reimbursement. These applications are due 07/10/2009. Beginning 09/01/2009, in subsequent months applications are due from any eligible station the first business day of each month for as long as funds are available.

13. I operate more than one LPTV station. Do I have to apply for reimbursement for all my LPTV stations at the same time?
No. You may apply for a reimbursement separately for each facility as each digital upgrade is completed and you have an FCC authorization.

14. Is there a limit on the dollar amount or number of stations I can apply for?
No. While there is a cap on funding for each site, there is no limit on either the number or stations or the amount of Upgrade funding that may be granted to any licensee.

15. It will be a financial hardship for me to pay up-front for the digital upgrade. Why is NTIA only making payments on a reimbursement basis?
The Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 states that eligible stations… “may receive reimbursement for equipment to upgrade low-power television stations from analog to digital.” NTIA is following the requirements of the legislation.

16. What documentation is required for reimbursement?
NTIA will only accept paid-in-full receipts issued by suppliers, vendors, or contractors for eligible costs and expenses associated with the completion of your LPTV digital upgrade. NTIA will not accept price quotes, invoices, packing slips, bid requests, or bid proposals as documentation of eligible costs and expenses.

17. How is the Priority implemented in the Upgrade program?
The first grant round will be open only to those stations meeting the priority criteria. In the subsequent monthly grant rounds, applications from priority stations will be funded first.

18. Why are population and “rurality” eligibility criteria?
The legislation that created the Low-Power Television and Translator Upgrade Program specifically references population and rural areas.

Section 3009 of PUBLIC LAW 109–171—FEB. 8, 2006 THE DEFICIT REDUCTION ACT OF 2005 Title III, "Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005."

    .... a licensee of an eligible low-power television station may receive reimbursement for equipment to upgrade low-power television stations from analog to digital in eligible rural communities, as that term is defined in section 610(b)(2) of
The Rural Electrification Act of 1937 (7 U.S.C. 950bb(b)(2)).

    Priority reimbursements shall be given to eligible low-power television stations in which the license is held by a non-profit corporation and eligible low-power television stations that serve rural areas of fewer than 10,000 viewers…

Eligible rural communities, as that term is defined in section 610(b)(2) of the Rural Electrification Act of 1937 (7 U.S.C. 950bb(b)(2)), are

    Any area of the United States that is not contained in an incorporated city or town with a population in excess of 20,000 inhabitants.”7 U.S.C. 950bb(b)(2).

19. How is population determined?
For the Low-Power Upgrade Program, population figures are based upon the station’s previous analog channel or the existing analog channel if you have a digital companion channel. NTIA has calculated the population within the FCC 50-50 protected contour coverage area using the Longley-Rice propagation method. The FCC defines the protected contour for Low-Power Stations to be 62 dBu for stations operating on channels 2- 6, 68 dBu for stations operating on channels 7 – 13, and 74 dBu for all UHF stations. The Longley-Rice method is based upon the terrain of the earth and considers mountains and valleys in its calculation. This method more accurately measures the population receiving the signal at the specified level than a non-terrain based measurement method. It should also be noted that, in most cases, population outside the protected contour can view the station since an adequate analog picture is acceptable at a much lower dBu level.

The NTIA calculated the population numbers using the 2000 U.S. Census data with V-Soft Propagation Software, Probe 3.

20. What if I disagree with the NTIA-calculated population number?
The LPTV Upgrade Program application includes the opportunity to use an alternate method for determining the population covered by the station. The application allows for you to provide an explanation of how you determined the population within your coverage area. Coverage contours compiled in this manner are subject to acceptance by NTIA.

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