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De Blasio to FCC: Keep TVs Out of Duplex Gap

Add New York mayor Bill de Blasio to the list of those opposing the FCC placing TV stations in the so-called duplex gap (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 mayor, said that she was writing on behalf of the mayor to say that 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 gap, but it is a hot-button issue that helped push a planned July 16 vote on that and other spectrum issues to August.