Broadcasters defend Channel 51 against wireless buffer zone plan


The National Association of Broadcasters and Association for Maximum Service Television have issued a strong challenge to a request by cell phone groups to clear broadcasters off of Channel 51 in order to avoid interference with their own constituents. NAB/MSTV note that the question of whether or not to set up a “guard band” for cellular interests was already considered and rejected.

The request to clear the channel came from CTIA and the Rural Cellular Association. NAB/MSTV said that these organizations were well aware of the situation when they were allowed to move into territory vacated by broadcast television in the wake of the transition to digital transmission.

“Previously, the Commission specifically declined to create a guard band on Channel 52 to address interference concerns between the respective broadcast and wireless operations, instead choosing to rely on A-Block wireless licensees to deploy systems that account for broadcast operations,” wrote NAB/MSTV.
“Petitioners now ask the Commission to change the rules of the game in mid-course and essentially introduce an informal guard band on Channel 51, for their sole benefit and at the expense of television stations and their viewers. Granting the Petition would harm the public interest in free, over-the-air television by unnecessarily restricting new TV services on Channel 51, as well as the ability of broadcasters to improve their services by modifying their existing Channel 51 facilities, or moving from another channel to Channel 51.”

The two associations concluded, “Wireless companies knew of the existence of TV operations on Channel 51, and of their responsibility to accommodate these services, before choosing to obtain licenses and deploy systems in the A-Block. Petitioners’ request to enhance their licenses at this stage, to the detriment of millions of Americans who value the free, over-the-air services of TV stations on Channel 51, should be dismissed. Commission policy dictates that it is the responsibility of new licensees to minimize interference with existing adjacent services, and Petitioners should not be allowed to now shift this obligation.”