FCC Allows NYC to Operate 700 MHz Public Safety System Before End of DTV Transition

December 28, 2007
The FCC has granted the state of New York’s request for a waiver of Section 90.545 of the FCC rules and allowed it to implement a 700 MHz public safety radio system in the greater New York City metropolitan area (downstate New York) prior to the end of the DTV transition.

New York modified its request to reflect the new 700 MHz band plan, using frequencies in the 773–775 MHz and 803–805 MHz bands, corresponding to TV Channels 64 and 69. Although the city acknowledged that de minimis interference to TV/DTV reception may occur as a result of this operation, a study it had conducted evaluated interference to nine co-channel and adjacent channel TV stations and projected that its use of the 700 MHz bands will affect less than 1 percent of each station’s service population. New York’s filing said for most stations the impact will be less, ranging from 0.01 percent to 0.96 percent. Refer to Order FCC 07-225 for a complete description of how the interference was calculated, including interference from mobile transmitters.

In granting the waiver, the FCC attached several conditions to “provide adequate safeguards to protect TV viewers from harmful interference.” The conditions include:
  • Providing notification to the FCC and all affected broadcasters at least ten days prior to activating one or more sites listing complete technical details for the sites (address, coordinates, ERP, antenna height, beam tilt) and the proposed date of activation;

  • Provide a single point of contact for resolving interference;

  • Respond within 24 hours to any TV station that notifies it that it has received interference complaints from viewers and reasonably believes that New York is the source of the interference within the TV station’s protected contour. Interference complaints must specify the specific geographic locations, dates and times of incidents. If the New York operations are determined to be the source of the interference, then it must “take prompt steps to work with the TV station and correct the case of interference.”

  • “New York must accept interference from all incumbent full power TV stations operating in the 700 MHz band until the end of the DTV transition and may not protest or request restrictions on any incumbent broadcaster’s authorized operations,” the FCC said in its Order. “Mobile, portable and control stations must operated above 803.000 MHz until the end of the transition.”
Condition “f” in the Order states, “New York must operate in accordance with its license for Station WPTZ779 and the technical parameters set forth in its Engineering Study, as supplemented, and as conditioned herein. New York will not be permitted under this waiver to cause new interference to any broadcast facility entitled to protection that already experiences interference to ten percent or more of its analog TV Grade B or protected DTV service population or that would result in a station receiving interference in excess of ten percent of its analog Grade B or DTV service population. For further modifications, New York will be required to file a Form 601 modification application and an appropriate engineering study, which are subject to Commission approval.”

Specific conditions are attached to Base Station Site Number 72 to protect WMBC-TV.

Licensee of WFMZ-TV, analog channel 69, in Allentown, Pa., stated that New York’s operation on Channel 69 would not result in significant interference to its viewers. However, licensees of WFUT-TV, analog channel 68 in Newark, N.J., and WMBC-TV, analog channel 63 in Newton, N.J., expressed concerns about New York’s engineering study. Refer to Order FCC 07-225 to see how the FCC addressed these concerns.

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