ABC Files Complaint Against Verizon Citing Interference

ABC has filed an informal complaint against Verizon Wireless arguing that the company is failing to protect WABC-TV New York's newsgathering operations from interference from Verizon's rollout of advanced wireless service (LTE) in the market. Verizon said it is working on the issue. (An informal complaint does not involve formal legal filings, has no filing charge and does not require a party to appear before the FCC.)

ABC told the FCC that Verizon had caused substantial interference to WABC-TV and "has done little to mitigate it." It wants the FCC's Enforcement Bureau to find Verizon in violation of FCC rules and, unless Verizon fixes the problem, wants the commission to prevent Verizon from deploying any new advanced LTE service sites in WABC-TV's service area.

Verizon has said it took steps to mitigate that interference, which ABC concedes, but the broadcaster says it was insufficient.

The interference issue is not new to the FCC Enforcement Bureau, which along with Verizon and ABC jointly tested the emissions back in November, which ABC said clearly showed continuing out-of-band emissions. Given that and the fact that Verizon continues to deploy LTE sites in the New York market, says ABC, and without notification or coordination with WABC-TV, as required by the FCC, ABC wants the FCC to step in.

“We are aware of the issue," said Verizon spokesman Richard Young. "We have been working cooperatively with WABC-TV and will continue to do so.”

That out-of-band interference issue could become more prominent if the FCC repacks some TV stations in the wireless band after the incentive auction, or if the FCC puts wireless operations and TV stations on the same channel in adjacent markets.

"We are very concerned about this issue extending to TV stations who have been repacked in the auction," said National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton, an issue that also concerns some wireless companies.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.