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NAB, Wireless Agree on Band Plan 'Core' Principles

A letter was filed at the FCC on Thursday from Verizon,
AT&T, the National Association of Broadcasters and others making some key
recommendations and offering a new band plan idea for reorganizing the
broadcast/broadband band after the FCC's reverse incentive auctions to reclaim
broadcast spectrum for wireless.

The band plan is only one part of the incentive auction
process, but an important one for broadcasters who will have to share their
former spectrum digs with wireless.

According to a copy of the letter, broadcasters and wireless
companies have come to consensus on a "core set of band plan
principles" that they want the FCC to adopt.

Those include:

  1. Adopt a contiguous "down from TV 51" approach with
    uplink at the top;
  2. Maximize the amount of paired spectrum above TV 37 (rely on supplemental
    downlink configurations where spectrum is cleared but pairing options are not
  3. Rely upon 5 MHz spectrum blocks as building blocks for the band plan;
  4. Incorporate a "duplex gap" or spacing between uplink (mobile
    transmit) and downlink (base transmit) of a minimum of 10 MHz, but no larger
    than technically necessary;
  5. Avoid broadcast television stations in the duplex gap;
  6. Preclude any operations in the duplex gap or guard bands that would result in
    harmful interference to adjacent licensed services;
  7. Provide guard bands that are, consistent with the statute, "no larger than
    is technically reasonable" to guard against harmful interference between
    adjacent operations;
  8. Provide a guard band between a high power broadcaster and mobile downlink that
    is sufficient to protect the wireless service from interference, which will
    likely be larger than the 6 MHz proposed by the FCC;
  9. Permit existing operations in TV 37 to remain;
  10. Facilitate international harmonization, prioritizing harmonization across North
    America and move forward expeditiously to coordinate with Canada and Mexico for
    new broadcast assignments."

The fact that NAB and wireless companies came to some
agreement jointly buttresses the assertion by NAB auction point person Rick
Kaplan, who told B&C in an
interview two weeks ago that NAB was looking to be a uniter, not a divider,
given that Congress had mandated the auction and had been in talks with
wireless folks. He said that "if you are all committed to having a
successful auction and one that makes sense for can find a
solution that maybe works for everybody."

The letter is said to be separate from comments those various
parties plan to file at the FCC by Friday, the deadline for initial comments in
the FCC's proposed framework for the auctions.

In addition to AT&T, Verizon and NAB, signing on to the
letter, which was filed late Thursday, were Qualcomm, T-Mobile and Intel.