Policy

NAB: FCC's Variable-Band Plans All Pose Interference Issues

Broadcasters Say 'Down From 51 Reversed' Approach Would Pose Least Harm 6/14/2013 11:00 AM Eastern

The National Association of Broadcasters has told the government it cannot "reasonably" employ a variable-band plan after the incentive auction of 600 MHz band spectrum if broadcasters and wireless carriers are on adjacent channels, or are using the same channel in neighboring markets.

Soon after the Federal Communications Commission released its plan, which intermixes broadcast and wireless operators, broadcasters and some major wireless carriers teamed up to oppose that plan. They said it would cause interference or reduce the amount of usable spectrum the FCC could recover. The FCC says the plan allows it flexibility to recover different amounts in different markets.

NAB countered with its own so called "Down From 51" plan. Then the FCC sought comment on that plan, on its original plan and on other schemes, including a "Down From 51 Reversed" plan that would reverse the uplink and downlink.

In comments filed Friday on the band plans, NAB said that none of the other plans adequately address the interference issue, but that the lesser of the evils would be "Down from 51 Reversed" because it is the variable plan that least "exacerbates" the inherent problems.

Even there, inadequate interference planning can could undermine the auction, NAB said. "If the Wireless Bureau continues to be locked into market variability it must, as a precursor, rigorously evaluate the issues raised throughout the record concerning co- and adjacent-channel interference and its impact on the proposed band plans."

Only then, NAB said, can the FCC know whether variability is even possible from a real-world engineering standpoint.

Among the authors of the NAB comments is Rick Kaplan, the former Wireless Bureau chief under former Chairman Julius Genachowski who helped produce the alternative-band plan.

While NAB proposed the "Down From 51" plan in concert with wireless companies AT&T and Verizon, it submitted its latest comments solo.

That may be because there are substantive differences in their responses. For example, Mobile Futures, a group whose members include AT&T and Verizon, said in its filing that the "Down from 51 Reversed" plan should not be adopted, period.

 

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