MMTC weighs in on television spectrum repurposing


The FCC is looking at television’s swath of spectrum with wireless broadband in mind. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council sees broadband too, but it also sees AMs moving to FM, as well as new noncommercial FMs and LPFMs as well.

MMTC has built on a 2007 proposal from Mullaney Engineering that would repurpose Channels 5 and 6 for FM radio broadcast. MMTC sees this as a way to allow minority broadcasters with inferior AM facilities to upgrade, as well as provide a home for more NCE FMs and LPFMs – all acts which it argues would increase diversity on the radio dial.

Further, it wishes to increase the presence of diverse broadcast television offerings by allowing a “condominium ownership” channel-sharing regimen. Rather than one licensee leasing a side channel to a tenant, the tenant would actually be allowed to “own” the side channel, thus vastly increasing access to capital that is available to owners, but not to renters.

MMTC also argues that LPTV stations are not left behind in the process, and are granted full participation in any spectrum auctions that may be offered to television licensees willing to return spectrum for broadband repurposing. They should also be allowed to operate on shared channels.

MMTC also asks that the FCC adopt the recently-offered Advisory Committee for Diversity in the Digital Age proposal for the establishment of an “Overcoming Disadvantages Preference” to promote diverse participation in all upcoming auctions related to the proceedings.