FCC Clarifies Channel 6 Protection Requirements

April 3, 2009
The FCC said it will dismiss any non-commercial/educational (NCE) FM application that relies upon the anticipated termination of analog channel 6 broadcast service to comply FCC rules Section 73.525 regarding protection of channel 6 TV broadcasts.

The FCC will also dismiss any application requesting a waiver of the Rule. In Public Notice DA 09-744, the FCC added that "amendments and petitions for reconsideration based upon the subsequent termination of analog Channel 6 operations will not be entertained."

The FCC said that several NCE FM station applicants, in anticipation of the analog shut-off, have attempted to satisfy Section 73.525 by including agreements contingent on analog stations shutting down broadcasts on channel 6. NCE applicants must either submit a showing regarding predicted interference or a copy of an agreement between the applicant and the affected channel 6 station "concurring with the proposed NCE FM facilities." Agreements contingent on the vacation of channel 6 allotments and the initiation of digital-only television operations will not be accepted.

It's clear that TV band white space device proponents are not the only ones looking at the spectrum that will become available when analog TV broadcasting ends, and are searching for ways to get into the spectrum before it's opened for filings subject to auctions in the case of competing applications.

In addition to NCE FM applicants, some LPTV broadcasters have filed to begin operation on the same channel as an existing analog station at power levels low enough to cause "de-minimis" interference when studied using FCC OET Bulletin 69 procedures. Once the analog station stops broadcasting, these LPTV broadcasters will have an advantage if they want to increase power as any new applicant will have to protect their authorized facilities.

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