NAB Tells FCC Not to 'Mandate' White Spaces

The National Association of Broadcasters has told the FCC not to force LPTVs and translators to share channels so it can use the freed-up spectrum for unlicensed use.

In a filing on the FCC's incentive auction framework, NAB was responding to a proposal by Public Knowledge that a way to free up more unlicensed spectrum through the upcoming incentive auction would be to mandate channel sharing by LPTVs and translators — which relay primary TV station signals to hard-to-reach areas.

PK and the others want to open up more so-called "white spaces" between TV channels for unlicensed use, which the FCC has also said is its goal.

NAB says that it is OK with unlicensed use of white spaces that are actually spaces between channels, but not with "altering" spectrum rights to create those spaces to the detriment of licensed services.

Most LPTVs and translators are not protected in the repacking of TV stations after the incentive auction. The FCC can only ask full-power and Class A low-powers to share channels, but it has the ability to force sharing on the others.

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.