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Government Accountability Office, Telecommunications: Enhanced Data Collection and Analysis Could Inform FCC's Efforts to Complete the Digital Transition of Low-Power Television Stations and Reallocate Spectrum (GAO-11-790) (Sept. 7, 2011) (full-text).


Television stations that broadcast at lower power levels were not required to meet the 2009 digital transition deadline for full-power stations. These low-power television stations transmit over a smaller area, and most are less regulated than full-power stations. Low-power television stations use valuable radio frequency spectrum, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) noted the stations' digital transition could aid its efforts to clear spectrum for wireless broadband.

GAO examined (1) low-power television stations' location and status in transitioning to digital, (2) FCC's steps to transition low-power television stations to digital and whether these stations are facing challenges transitioning to digital, and (3) why low-power television stations were established and the extent to which FCC collects information to determine if low-power television service is meeting FCC's statutory and policy goals.