Policy

We Can Share Spectrum, NCTA Says

8/22/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Washington — Cable operators say
they are OK with the government freeing
up spectrum to share with wirelessbroadband
services, as long as there are
sufficient protections.

The Federal Communications Commission
voted unanimously on Aug. 9 to free
up more spectrum — up to 650 Megahertz
— for mobile wireless backhaul and make
it easier and more cost-effective for wireless
companies to use point-to-point microwave
links to deliver their service, particularly in
rural areas.

It was another step in the FCC’s push for
broadband deployment and for providing
more spectrum for wireless broadband.
Chairman Julius Genachowski has said
wireless backhaul can be an important way
to link cellular sites or sites with backbone
infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.

Among the changes were allowing for
use of wider channels and smaller antennas,
and allowing for sharing of spectrum
for specialized services including cable TV
relay and broadcast auxiliary services, with
requisite protections for that sharing, said
the FCC’s Wireless Bureau.

Those protections are important to the
cable industry. In its filing on the issue, the
National Cable & Telecommunications Association
said that it believed that wireless
backhaul sharing was doable “provided
existing cable CARS [cable-television relay
service] facilities are protected through
rigorous adherence to a formal frequencycoordination
process.”