NAB Slams Wireless Call for BAS Spectrum
Says move would be a threat to public safety
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/13/2013 6:06:50 PM
ENG spectrum was reclaimed and users repacked/moved from the 2 GHz band to a new home between 2025 and 2110 as part of the relocation of mobile satellite spectrum.
That wireless request came in a letter from CTIA: The Wireless Association to the FCC. CTIA points out that the FCC has until February 2015 to identify 15 MHz of contiguous spectrum for reallocation and licensing for mobile broadband. That would be a short-term spectrum injection compared to the spectrum being reclaimed from broadcasters in the incentive auction. The National Telecommunications & Information Administration is charged with coming up with 15 MHz of government spectrum to reallocate, and CTIA says the BAS band is a natural fit.
"CTIA believes that the Commission should closely consider spectrum from the Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) as a most effective candidate band," CTIA president Steve Largent wrote. "This spectrum band is below 3 GHz, is contiguous and adjacent to current allocations, and would allow pairing in a readily achievable fashion. CTIA is not aware of any other spectrum bands as well-positioned as this band to meet all the key principles for mobile broadband spectrum that could be paired with the specific 15 MHz identified by NTIA."
Broadcasters, who had been allied with wireless companies in opposition to the FCC's incentive auction band plan, weren't feeling the love Wednesday.
"If CTIA's request were not such a serious threat to public safety, it would be amusing," said National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton, recalling the heated rhetoric typical of the broadcasters vs. wireless spectrum fights of old. "Every day, local TV stations use broadcast auxiliary spectrum (BAS) to provide breaking coverage of devastating storms, tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires. If Superstorm Sandy demonstrated anything, it is that broadcast television serves as a lifeline in times of emergency, where cell phone/wireless architecture has failed.
"Just a few years after broadcasters returned 108 MHz and one-third of our BAS spectrum for wireless purposes -- and just one day after comments were filed on incentive auctions to repurpose more TV airwaves to wireless -- CTIA is demanding even more spectrum from broadcasters. NAB will work with the FCC to identify appropriate spectrum that meets the requirements of the statute without jeopardizing the safety of the American public."
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