NAB Tracks Too-Strong Transmitters

Concerned that the Senate Commerce Committee may be about to approve the use of unlicensed wireless devices in the broadcast band, the National Association of Broadcasters Thursday was circulating a study claiming similar devices already on the market using other spectrum violated FCC limits on power.

In letters to the co-chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and the chairman of the FCC, NAB, provided results of tests on 17 wireless devices uses to broadcast from an MP3 or satellite radio receiver to a car radio.

NAB said three quarters of them exceeded FCC field strength limits, six by at least 2,000% and one by 20,000%. Their point is that there needs to be more real-world testing of unlicensed devices before the FCC or Congress approves their use in the broadcast band, where they could interfere with DTV reception.

"This timely study raises many questions about the operation of wireless transmitter devices in broadcast spectrum, " said NAB in a statement accompanying the report, "and should be taken into account when considering any 'white space legislation that would permit unlicensed device operation in TV spectrum.
Earlier in the day, John Kneuer, acting head of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, the administration's spectrum policy adviser, suggested that he thought the FCC could find a way to fit them in, given that unlicensed devices were currently sharing other spectrum with vital defense applications.

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.