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CCA Backs Gap, Second-Channel Proposal

The Competitive Carriers Association, a group of about 100 smaller wireless broadband providers, has told the FCC it should reserve a second vacant channel for unlicensed use and place TV stations in the duplex gap "as needed."

That came in comments to the FCC as it considers some of the remaining tweaks to its incentive auction framework.

The FCC is putting unlicensed and wireless mic users in the gap (between the uplink and downlink portions of wireless spectrum), but in order to not to limit the potential contiguous spectrum it is freeing up in the broadcast incentive auction and station repack, it wants to put a handful of TV stations in the gap as well, something the National Association of Broadcasters opposes.

The FCC also wants to insure there is sufficient unlicensed spectrum available after the auction by reserving the last vacant channel in each TV market where it has to relocate TV stations in the gap, which could mean displacing low power TVs and translators, which have no protection in a post-auction repack.

CCA said it was reaffirming its support for the gap relocation, "and supported the FCC’s intention to reserve a second vacant channel in the television band for unlicensed operations and wireless microphones in instances where the duplex gap is subject to impairment."

"Impairment" means co-locating TV stations and unlicensed, which reduces their respective reach due to potential interference.

“It was Congress’s intent for the incentive auction to increase the amount of valuable low-band spectrum available for mobile broadband services," CCA president Steven Berry said in announcing the filing. "CCA applauds the FCC for thinking creatively to propose an industry-supported solution that helps to fulfill Congress’s intent.” 

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.