De Blasio To FCC: Keep TV Out of Duplex Gap

Add New York mayor Bill de Blasio to the list of those opposed to the Federal Communications Commission placing TV stations in the so-called duplex gap (a buffer between downlink and uplink spectrum) in the repack of stations following the broadcast incentive auction.

The FCC is proposing putting a handful of stations in that gap, where it is also placing wireless microphones and other unlicensed devices, as a way to insure it can free up sufficient contiguous spectrum in the incentive auction, but broadcasters, wireless companies and others, not including the mayor of the Big Apple, have pushed back.

In a letter to the FCC, Maya Wiley, counsel to the major, said that she was writing on behalf of the mayor to say that the putting TV stations in the duplex gap in New York would "inhibit live broadcast production in major urban areas, complicate the use of microphones in live theater, and deprive millions of Americans of the full benefit of next generation Wi-Fi technologies..."

The FCC has indicated that New York is likely to be one of the handful of affected stations.

Wiley cited broadcaster concerns in the letter: "We urge you to consider the important concerns raised by a diverse coalition of broadcasters, tech companies, and consumer advocates and preserve the duplex gap for unlicensed and wireless microphone use."

The FCC is scheduled to vote Aug. 6 on the proposal to allow some stations to be repacked into the duplex gab, but it is a hot-button issue that helped push a planned July 16 vote on that and other spectrum issues to August.

Photo attribution: "Bill de Blasio 11-2-2013" by Kevin Case from Bronx, NY, USA - Bill de Blasio. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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.