The National Association of Broadcasters wrote to the FCC noting that while there are still areas in the television incentive auction plan where differences exist between stakeholders, the Down from 51 concept is not one of them. And if the FCC continues to show interest in a variable band plan, it must immediately conduct serious scientific study.
NAB said support for Down from 51 is “overwhelming.” NAB said there should be common fixed duplex gap and under no circumstances should a broadcaster be located in the gap. It also said a minimum guard band size is needed to guarantee a lack of interference between broadcast and wireless service.
NAB stated, “While the above elements may not have complete unanimity, they all enjoy overwhelming support from a wide range of stakeholders. They have that support based on sound engineering and the ability they provide industry to deliver high-quality mobile broadband and broadcast services to the greatest number of consumers and viewers, respectively. Nothing in the record suggests any reason to stray from those core tenants.”
NAB said there is no serious study of what might happen under a variable band plan which has seemingly captured the FCC’s imagination.
“Indeed,” said NAB, “the only thorough analysis in the record – provided by NAB and others without prompting – suggests that variability is a major concern and likely one that licensed blocks fungible), ultimately drive down auction revenues and lead to significant interference between broadband and broadcast providers. Variability should not come at the expense of viability. The Commission must weigh variability’s benefits against the significant constraints imposed by resulting interference between broadcast and wireless operations.
NAB argued that a national rather than market-by-market plan is necessary to meet all of the goals attached to the auctions. It concluded, “Our plan is simple, cost-effective and allow the Commission to avoid the significant interference challenges inherent in variable plans.”