Oxley weighs in against Northpoint


Rep. Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) has joined Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) in urging the FCC to exercise caution before authorizing any new terrestrial multichannel video services in the band of spectrum reserved for direct broadcast satellite.

"While we all welcome competition, a new entrant should not be allowed to compromise the quality of an existing service," Oxley wrote in a letter sent Tuesday, regarding whether the FCC should grant exclusive nationwide terrestrial licenses to Northpoint Technology.

Oxley is not new to this debate. He and House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) last year sponsored legislation that required the FCC to conduct independent tests on whether Northpoint's planned service would interfere with existing direct broadcast satellite (DBS) offerings. Oxley proposes more tests to confirm the findings of independent firm Mitre Corp., which said that terrestrial multichannel video providers would likely interfere with DBS systems.

The report also suggested mitigation techniques, which Northpoint says always have been part of its plan. "There should be extensive tests of whether the mitigation techniques will work, under what conditions, and whether, to paraphrase the Mitre report, the costs of mitigation and residual interference outweigh the benefits of coexistence," Oxley wrote. - Paige Albiniak