NCTA Urges Rejection of 12-GHz Bid


The National Cable & Telecommunications Association is seeking government
dismissal of a proposal that would require cable operators to share microwave
spectrum with new entrants.

The NCTA is challenging a plan crafted by EchoStar Communications Corp. and
DirecTV Inc., which are trying to eliminate an invasion of their spectrum by
Northpoint Technology Ltd. in a proceeding at the Federal Communications

EchoStar and DirecTV recently urged the FCC to allow Northpoint to use
spectrum in the 12-gigahertz band that cable operators also use to create
microwave relays to fill gaps in their coverage areas that are too expensive to
wire, such as river crossings and mountains.

The direct-broadcast satellite firms said the 12-GHz band is lightly used by
cable and would be more suitable for Northpoint than DBS spectrum, which
Northpoint wants to occupy to lunch a terrestrial data and video service

In a letter sent Jan. 11 to the FCC, the NCTA said the 12-GHz band is not
lightly used, claiming that cable operators have 1,700 licenses.

'The cable industry's continuing requirements for (12-GHz) frequencies are
genuine, widespread and vital to ongoing operations,' the trade group added.

The NCTA added that sharing 12-GHz spectrum with Northpoint, with Northpoint
assigned as a secondary user of the spectrum, would require Northpoint to shut
down if cable operators demonstrated that Northpoint's service was creating

'It is not difficult to foresee cases arising where the public cannot
understand or accept the assertion of primary cable operators `service for [the
12-GHz band] when it would mean the diminution of Northpoint's service directly
to its customers,' the NCTA said.