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About the Upgrade Program

On 05/12/2009 NTIA announced the start of the Low Power TV and Translator Upgrade grant program to help operators of analog low-power television stations (low power television broadcast stations, Class A television stations, television translator stations, and television booster stations) to upgrade their analog facilities to digital broadcast capacity.

As announced in the Federal Register, this grant program will reimburse licensees of eligible low-power television stations for equipment to upgrade their low-power television stations from analog to digital in eligible rural communities.

Amount Available

  1. A total of $44 million is available for reimbursements to eligible low-power television stations.

  2. Eligible stations may apply for a reimbursement for up to $6,000 for the digital modification of an existing analog low-power television facility or up to $20,000 for the replacement of analog equipment with eligible digital equipment of an existing analog low-power television facility.

Eligible Low-Power Stations

Any low-power television broadcast station, Class A television station, television translator station, or television booster station that meets the following criteria is eligible to apply for reimbursement:

  1. that had an analog television authorization or permit on February 8, 2006 and has operated in analog, and
  2. that has converted from analog to digital operations, but not before February 8, 2006, the date of enactment of the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005.

Priority Compensation

Priority compensation shall be given to eligible low-power television stations that meet either of these criteria:

  1. The license is held by a non-profit corporation that has received a determination of non-profit status under applicable state or Federal law, including stations organized under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Service Code, 26 U.S.C. 501 (c); or
  2. The low-power television station serves a rural area of fewer than 10,000 viewers. (NTIA will use the population within the station's FCC 50/50 protected contour to determine whether this criterion is met).

Application Procedures

  1. Applications for funding will be accepted beginning 05/12/2009 and due 07/13/2009. This first application period is only for stations eligible for priority reimbursement. Following the first application period for stations eligible for priority reimbursement, each subsequent application period will recur on a monthly basis. For each monthly application period, applications will be due from any eligible station by the first business day of each month. Applications will be accepted each month thereafter as long as funds are available.
  2. Applications forms are only available from the program's website and must be prepared on-line. Once completed electronically, applicants must PRINT THE FORMS, SIGN EACH FORM WHERE REQUIRED, INCLUDE ANY REQUIRED ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTATION (required documentation may vary per application) and SEND TO NTIA.
  3. Instructions for completing the application form are included in the on-line materials.

Application Guidelines

Before completing your application for reimbursement, please review the Upgrade Program Quick Start Instructions found on the sign-in page for the Application for LPTV and Translator Upgrade Program Funds. These instructions serve as a guide to completing an application and what information is required to be included with your application.

Low-Power Television and Translator Digital-to-Analog Conversion Program

In addition to the Low-Power Television and Translator Digital Upgrade Program, NTIA also administers the Low-Power Television and Translator Digital-to-Analog Conversion Program. This program provides grants of $1,000 to low power stations that must purchase a digital to analog conversion device to convert the incoming digital signal of a full power television station to analog for transmission on the low power station's analog channel. NTIA is now accepting grant applications postmarked by June 12, 2009. The program will not accept applications postmarked after June 12, 2009.

If a station is not ready to implement an Upgrade of its analog facility it may want to consider an application to the Low Power TV and Translator Conversion Program as an interim step in its effort to convert to digital. Please see http://www.ntia.doc.gov/lptv/Conversion.html

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