Two Christian broadcast stations have asked the FCC for permission to cease transmitting analog signals this year, which would make the 700 MHz spectrum available for other wireless uses, an FCC source said.

WGNM (Channel 64) in Macon, Ga., and WFGC (Channel 61) in Palm Beach, Fla., have requested that the commission allow them to broadcast only digital signals. There is no timetable for the FCC to consider the requests, the FCC source said.

By law, TV broadcasters must clear the 700 MHz band by ceasing analog transmissions in April 2009, but they can continue to use the frequencies until then. When the digital transition is complete, public-safety entities will be able to use 24 MHz of spectrum nationwide. However, 700 MHz deployments can be executed earlier in geographic areas where the band is not being used by broadcasters.

Prior to these requests, WLNY in New York was the only broadcaster that has offered to return its analog spectrum early, according to media reports. In that case, wireless technology giant Qualcomm reported paid the broadcaster to clear the spectrum and the FCC approved that request.