NCTA attacks white space spectrum proposal

September 15, 2008

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has joined the parade against the FCC’s proposal to use white spaces in spectrum for wireless Internet access.

The NCTA said current proposals for fixed licensed devices could create interference to cable systems. That includes interference with reception of distant TV signals at cable headends, which it claimed could “wipe out” programming to an entire community. Transmitters needed for fixed devices would also threaten cable signals, the group claimed.

“The proposals for unlicensed personal and portable devices and for fixed licensed use of the TV bands have the potential to seriously degrade service for cable television viewers,” the NCTA said in a letter to the FCC. “Rather than spawning innovative services with no harm to others, as white spaces proponents have touted, the operation of TV band devices could only confuse consumers and undermine existing innovative cable services.”

If the FCC approves such devices, the NCTA said it should restrict the operation of portable devices to a maximum of 10MW and prohibit transmissions in the VHF channels. It should also prohibit operations, at a minimum, on Channels 2-4 and restrict the operation of fixed devices to at least 400ft from the external walls of residential buildings.

The FCC should require spectrum coordination before operation of portable devices on channels adjacent to those being received at headends, the NCTA said.

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