FCC Gives Modeo a Boost

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Mobile broadcast company Modeo held a press event Feb. 28 in New York to promote the company's beta service test in the area. The event also coincided with the decision by the Federal Communications Commission to increase the transmission power of the company's L-band spectrum license.

The FCC decision comes as Modeo is in the process of beta testing a cellphone equipped with a Digital Video Broadcast – Handheld (DVB-H) chip which allows it to receive a variety of content, such as live television.

Per the FCC, Modeo, an affiliate of Crown Castle International, will now be able to increase the aggregate peak power limit of its Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power (EIRP) from 2 klowatts per MHz to 20 kW per MHz in urban and suburban areas and 40 kW per MHz in rural ones.

The New York beta test, which covers 475 square miles, uses 65+ transmitter sites throughout the city. According to Michael Ramke, president of Modeo, thanks to the FCC, the company will now be able to deliver the same range with “a fraction of the transmitter sites.”

The company also used the event to display working examples of future features including Personal Video Recording (PVR) and a Modeo miniSD card which works with existing handhelds as well as laptops. According to Kari Lehtinen, VP of Handsets at Modeo, “By 2009, DVB-H chips should be as prevalent as Bluetooth chips are now.”

Modeo’s beta test includes roughly 165 beta testers using a Microsoft Windows 5.0-based smartphone built by HTC. The beta service, whose chief competitor is Qualcomm’s MediaFlo, includes content from MSNBC, FOX News, CNBC, Discovery and E!.