01.28.2010 12:25 PM
Broadcasters Nix Low-Power DTS Proposal

The NAB and MSTV, acting as representatives for the nation’s broadcasters, filed comments with the FCC on Jan. 27 pledging “full and constructive participation” in that agency’s broadband plan, but at the same time, denouncing a proposal from the Consumer Electronics Association and CTIA-The Wireless Association for transitioning U.S. television broadcasting to a low-power distributed transmission system (DTS) as impractical. The NAB and MSTV were united in their opinion that the DTS plan was not workable due to loss of coverage and interference problems.

"Coverage gaps are the unavoidable consequence of trying to use a fill-in technology such as DTS as an across-the-board substitute for the current delivery system of over-the-air DTV,” the broadcast groups said.

NAB and MSTV also stated that the proposal to use DTS to create spectrum “drastically underestimated” costs that would have to be absorbed to make such a transition for television broadcasting, saying they would be “orders of magnitude higher than estimates provided by CTIA/CEA.”

The two broadcast groups did agree with several aspects of FCC submissions filed by the Department of Justice and NTIA, saying that a comprehensive inventory of present and future spectrum availability and usage was required.

NAB/NTIA noted that neither the DOJ nor NTIA called for reallocation of broadcast television spectrum, but did term the agencies’ assumption that a lack of spectrum is limiting competition in the area of broadband communications.

“There is no necessary nexus between allocating additional spectrum and increased broadband deployment and use,” the groups said. “Many countries with higher broadband usage rates than the United States have less spectrum allocated for broadband purposes.”

The NAB/NTIA filing also noted that the implementation of a mobile DTV system by television broadcasters would provide consumers with high-quality video in real time.

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