Washington

Noncoms Agree FCC Should Scrap Changes to Coverage Model

Tell FCC that changes to OET Bulletin 69 would threaten their mission 4/08/2013 03:16:43 PM Eastern

Noncommercial broadcasters are on the same
page with the National Association of Broadcasters when it comes to the FCC's
proposed changes (the so-called Bulletin 69) to how the FCC calculates coverage
areas and interference protections for the post incentive auction repacking,
arguing that the changes would create "widespread uncertainty for stations
and would make it difficult for public television stations to serve their
mission of providing all Americans with important free, noncommercial television
services."

Like
commercial broadcasters, they argue that the commission is bound by statute to
use the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) methodology
.

Congress
instructed the FCC to use that methodology in its repacking of TV stations
after the incentive auctions, and commercial and noncommercial broadcasters
alike interpret that to mean the method in existence when the law was adopted
last year, not the FCC's proposed update in early February, when it released an
updated version of the Longley-Rice model and TVStudy software it will use to
calculate TV station coverage areas and interference as it repacks TV stations
into smaller spectrum quarters after the FCC's incentive auctions.

While
the FCC is bound by statute to make all reasonable efforts to protect TV
stations' coverage areas and interference protections post-auction, the noncoms
say that the changes "fail to 'preserve' stations' service areas and,
instead, significantly reduce the coverage area and population served for many
stations."

Given
that threat, "we strongly urge OET to refrain from adopting these
proposals in connection with the upcoming spectrum auction and repacking, PBS, CPB and the Association
of Public Television Stations said in joint comments to the FCC on the proposed
changes.

 

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