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NTIA Spectrum Plan Could Force Second ENG Exodus

The National Telecommunications &
Information Administration has said its just-released report finding that 95
MHz more federal spectrum could be freed up for wireless broadband faces some

One of those is that it will have to move some federal agencies to
other spectrum, and one proposal by DOD would mean broadcast and cable
electronic news gatherers using the Broadcast Auxiliary Service band would be
forced to make a second exodus over the next 5-10 years.

spectrum was reclaimed and users repacked/moved from the 2 GHZ band to a new
home between 2025 and 2110 as part of the DTV transition and to make room for
wireless broadband. Now, what the National Association of Broadcasters has
called a second, even more complicated, transition of spectrum reclamation and
re-auction for wireless broadband by the FCC and NTIA might mean a second
move of those ENG users.

order to free up spectrum in the 1755-1850 MHZ band, DOD says it will need to
move to the 2025-2110 band, where electronic newsgathering equipment -- all
those trucks and dishes sending live news back to stations and networks -- currently
operate, as well as for studio/transmitter links.

to page 45 of the NTIA report, where it lists
the following as one of the "significant conditions and challenges of
freeing up spectrum in the 1755-1850 band over the next decade: "DOD
states it requires access to the 2025-2110 MHz band on a primary basis to
ensure comparable capability for many of their systems. This will require
reallocation of the band to allow various federal operations and the
development of solutions for the accommodation of incumbent broadcast auxiliary
service (BAS) and other systems in the band.

spectrum apparently being targeted is used every day by broadcasters for live
remotes, sports and news gathering during crisis situations," said NAB spokesman Dennis
Wharton. "Those communications often mean the difference between life and
death during hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters. NAB will work with
policymakers as we review the plan, mindful that no wireless or wireline
technology can replicate the lifeline role played by the local broadcaster."

spokesperson for NTIA said that there will be
a mix of sharing and relocation for federal users. She said NTIA had not made a
recommendation about where it was going to move federal users, and that it
would be proposing new homes in a variety of bands.