Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
FCC releases data, software relevant to spectrum repack
The FCC July 22 released data relevant to repacking television spectrum and a new version of its TV Study software aimed at making it easier to understand the consequences of channel reassignment as part of the agency’s effort to free up spectrum for mobile broadband use.
According to a public notice from the commission, the material that was released “represents the results of a staff analysis of whether a television station could be assigned to a particular channel in the incentive auction repacking process, consistent with statutory and other requirements,” such as the Spectrum Act’s provisions requiring the FCC to make its best effort to maintain coverage and audience for reassigned stations.
The data is based on “preliminary assumptions” agency staff has made that are necessary to illustrate the impact of assigning a channel to a new swath of spectrum; however, the commission as of now has made no decision on whether or not to use them.
Along with the notice, the agency released an updated version of its TV Study software and supporting data. Together they are intended to determine the population served by each TV broadcast station using methodology described in OET Bulletin 69.
It also release two sets of data: one describing TV allotments in Canada and Mexico as well as those of U.S. TV broadcast licenses holders; the other describing how it is possible to pre-calculate which stations can be reassigned to which channels in the repacking process, and those that can’t operate on the same or adjacent channels. The agency noted that while the allotment data already exists, the form in which it is being released with the notice makes it more usable for those evaluating the impact of the repack.
According to the notice, the data that was released has several possible applications, such as determining the feasibility of assigning channels to a set of stations during the reverse auction portion of incentive auction process while ensuring compliance with the Spectrum Act.
The FCC said it was releasing the data now so that interested parties will have time to give their input on “how permissible channel assignments might be determined and how that information might be used during the incentive auction.” It added that the data will give those who are interested the opportunity to validate that the agency’s databases are accurate and “that the staff has correctly identified all relevant constraints on repacking.”