FCC OKs Channel Move for New Jersey Township
August 17, 2010
WASHINGTON : Woodbridge,
N.J., built a $10 million emergency communications network just to find it
picked up “Gossip Girl.” The municipality this week was granted a waiver from
the Federal Communications Commission to move its network to a different
frequency. Woodbridge will move its network from Ch. 20 at 506-512 MHz to Ch.
16 at 482-488 MHz. The waiver was necessary because commission rules reserved
Ch. 16 for areas of New York and Bergen County, N.J. Woodbridge Township is in
Middlesex County, N.J.
The communications network was fired up about a year ago. The interference
started immediately, according to the
“During system startup and optimization, intermittent interference was
identified,” Woodbridge told the FCC. It was traced to WTXX-TV, The CW
affiliate in Waterbury, Conn., also on Ch. 20. The interference was attributed
to “ducting,” which was said to disable the system for “unacceptable periods of
time” given that police, fire and emergency personnel rely on it for
communications. Woodbridge brought in an engineering consultant and one from
Motorola to see if the interference could be overcome with filters or some
other alternative. It could not.
“Woodbridge contends that its ‘$10 million investment in radio system
infrastructure is now stranded,’” the waiver said.
There were no other VHF, UHF, 470 or 800 MHz channels available to the
Township, according to the frequency advisor for the Association of
Public-Safety Communications Officials. An assignment within the 700 MHz block
designated for public safety was considered, but much of it’s spoken for in
that area, and the cost to move the Woodbridge system to 700 MHz was
The FCC granted Woodbridge six frequency pairs in Ch. 16 on the condition that
its network does not interfere with two other municipal networks nearby. The
Township said it would give Ch. 20 back to the FCC.
-- Deborah D. McAdams
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