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On March 22, 2007, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded $7,855,000 to reimburse New York's Metropolitan Television Alliance (MTVA) for phase one of the NYC 9/11 Digital Television Transition project, for the design and deployment of a temporary digital television broadcast system for 10 television stations throughout the New York City area.

The first phase of the project, to be accomplished in FY 2007, will design and test the system at three to five sites in the New York City metropolitan area. Based on the results of the test sites, MTVA anticipates requesting $21,645,000 by reimbursement in FY 2008 for Phase 2, to complete the full 20 site system in the New York City metropolitan area so it would be operational prior to the digital television transition deadline of February 17, 2009. The transition to digital television will free-up more of the nation's airwaves for advanced wireless broadband services, and interoperable communications among emergency first responders.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which established the digital television transition deadline, provides up to $30 million to reimburse MTVA for the design and deployment costs of the temporary digital television broadcast system. Until a permanent facility is constructed on top of the Freedom Tower, it is necessary to design and install a system to distribute digital signals throughout the New York City area.

New York City and the counties encompassed in this project include the Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, and Westchester. The New Jersey counties involved are Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic, and Union.

MTVA was formed after September 11, 2001, when the television stations' digital and analog transmission facilities were destroyed in the collapse of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The television stations then installed temporary digital and analog transmission facilities on top of the Empire State Building. However, the Empire State Building is not a sufficient site for the distribution of digital television signals because high rise buildings block the signals, interfere with digital reception, and create shadow effects that negate signal reception.

NTIA has current authority to borrow up to $30 million from the Treasury for this program.

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