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NAB, MSTV: Stay deadline for ENG move

The National Association of Broadcasters and the Association for
Maximum Service Television (MSTV) asked the Federal Communications
Commission Thursday to stay a Sept. 6 deadline that would allow mobile-satellite
services to involuntarily move broadcasters off parts of the 2-gigahertz
spectrum where they conduct electronic newsgathering (ENG).

When the FCC adopted a relocation plan for broadcasters in August 2000, it
set a two-year time frame for MSS providers and broadcasters in the top-30
markets to negotiate the move, in which broadcasters are to give up 35 megahertz
of their ENG spectrum to MSS services.

Two years later, no negotiations have been conducted, broadcasters said, and
they are worried that FCC rules will allow MSS providers to bump them off their
places even if broadcasters have no alternative ENG plans in place.

MSS providers are also supposed to compensate broadcasters for the cost of
the move.

"MSS does not appear to be progressing towards service in the 2-gigahertz
band, and the MSS licensees should not be permitted to use their decision to
delay progress to reduce their obligations to compensate incumbent broadcasters
for clearing the spectrum, or to threaten essential news services of local
stations," wrote NAB president Eddie Fritts and MSTV president David

Meanwhile, whether MSS will ever become a viable service remains in question,
and the FCC is considering whether to allow MSS licensees to use the spectrum
for terrestrial services or to reallocate part of the MSS spectrum for other
wireless services.