The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday it is accepting applications for grants to help rural public television broadcasters complete the transition to digital signals. Funding is available through the agency’s “Public Television Station Digital Transition Grant” program.
There is almost $2.8 million in available funding as part of USDA’s continued support of telecommunications and broadcast services in rural areas, agency officials said. Funds can be used to acquire, lease or install equipment or software necessary to complete the digital transition.
Last year, the Ana G. Méndez University System awarded $210,590 under this program, which helped the institution to save 48 jobs, guarantee students a place to practice as well as the continuation of a reliable public television service for rural residents, said José Otero-García, Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico.
The Federal Communications Commission required television broadcasters to convert transmitters to digital signals in 2009, but the deadline for analog-to-digital conversion of translators is Sept. 1, 2015.
As a result, many rural stations have not completed full digital transition of their stations across all equipment. Continuation of reliable public television service for all rural residents remains a priority for many rural broadcasters.
The deadline for applications is Aug. 30. For additional information, see Page 42487 of the July 16 Federal Register, or click here.