NAB Slams Wireless Call for BAS Spectrum

Says move would be a threat to public safety
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The National Association of Broadcasters is
not happy with the wireless industry's request that the FCC look to reclaim
some broadcast auxiliary services (BAS) band spectrum for
commercial reallocation, calling it a threat to public safety. That spectrum is
currently used for electronic newsgathering and is where they moved ENG when
they reallocated satellite spectrum.

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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