Low Power Radio Power Increase: FCC Considering LP 250

After many years of advocacy, the U.S. Low Power Radio community may be getting what it wants. The Federal Communications Commission has announced that they are considering a proposal to broadly authorize a power increase for many low power radio stations from 100 watts to 250 watts.

So-called “simple LP250”, which would make the increased wattage available with a minimum of exclusionary conditions, would provide the mini-radio stations with increased reach and increased legitimacy.

Two-thirds of existing low power radio stations are outside the top 100 media markets and offer local news, information and culture in areas with relatively little media diversity.

In addition to increasing the station’s reach, an expansion to 250 watts would aid many of the stations with technical issues, including physical obstructions from terrain and buildings. The enhanced power would also be appealing for new entries into the market who may be considering taking over the operations of distressed or latent frequencies, increasing the overall usage of space on the radio band.

The new class of service would allow class of service upgrades as a minor change that would limit the dizzying amount of paperwork sometimes demanded by the agency to make changes to licenses. The proposal maintains buffer zone spacing around adjacent channels to mitigate interference concerns.

You can read the full petition to the Federal Communications Commission here.

The turnaround time is quick, with comments due in to the FCC by June 21st. Interested commenters are encouraged to team up for joint comments.

Here are instructions to file your comment:

To get to the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) visit https://fcc.gov/ecfs. At the top menu, click the link that reads “Submit a FILING”.  Fill in the “proceeding(s)” field with RM-11909. As you type, the system will look for the proceeding in the box below the field. Go ahead and select RM-11909.  Fill in your name, address and email addressThe filing type is “Comment”.  If there is no asterisk (*) next to a field, then you don’t have to fill it in. At the bottom of the page, there is a link to upload a document. Go ahead and upload it and once uploaded, click on the submit button.  After that, you will reach a confirmation screen. If you want an email confirmation that your filing was sent, there’s a box there to click.  Then go ahead and click the submit button to file comments.