TV organizations battle back on white spaces


Both the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Association for Maxium Service Television (MSTV) vowed to continue the battle to assure interference-free television, despite the FCC’s plans for allowing unlicensed devices into the spectrum. Spokesmen for both vowed to work with the FCC to make the program as safe as possible.

NAB’s Dennis Wharton said, "While we appreciate the FCC’s attempt to address significant issues raised by broadcasters and others, every American who values interference-free TV should be concerned by today’s Commission vote. By moving the ‘white space’ vote forward, the Commission appears to have bypassed meaningful public or peer review in a proceeding of grave importance to the future of television. Fortunately, today’s vote is just the beginning of a fight on behalf of the 110 million households that rely on television for news, entertainment, and lifesaving emergency information. Going forward, NAB and our allies will work with policymakers to ensure that consumers can access innovative broadband applications without jeopardizing interference-free TV."

MSTV’s David Donovan went into considerably more detail, saying, “Abandoning its own procedures, the FCC refused to place its Phase II Engineering Report out for public comment, despite the fact that the data are patently inconsistent with the purported conclusion. In addition, the FCC ignored more than 50 letters from Members of Congress, asking for public comment.” He said the FCC’s own report included four facts that make adoption of the program questionable. First, 40 milliwatt WSDs will cause first-adjacent interference; additionally, cable subs will get direct pick up interference; the complete failure” of spectrum sensing contradicts the claim of “proof of concept”; and there’s no protection for live news/sports, “thereby jeopardizing the lifeblood of American broadcasting.”

Donovan concluded, “For the past several years, the FCC and the television industry have worked tirelessly to ensure that all Americans are able to receive over-the-air digital television. The incongruity between these DTV efforts and today’s decision is breathtaking. Even the FCC cannot compromise the laws of physics. Assertions regarding no interference will not prevent damage in the real world.”